Are you reaching your target heart rate? 03/19/2010
by Kathy Kent
Edward Health & Fitness Center
How do you know what kind of workout you are getting from a treadmill, a weight circuit or from jumping rope? You probably can't tell. It's not just how you feel, how heavy you are breathing, or how much you are perspiring. Your heart rate, however, can tell you something about your workout and your exercise intensity. With a heart rate monitor you can ensure that you're working out at the right intensity, no matter what activity. It takes the guesswork out of exercise.
A heart rate monitor is a tool that can help to monitor exercise intensity and manage workouts to reach your goals of becoming healthier, fitter and faster. It helps to pace your workouts - like having a personal trainer to tell you when to slow down or when to speed up. In order to reach your fitness goals, you need to exercise at the right intensity. Your heart rate is an accurate and easy measurement of your exertion level and a heart rate monitor can easly, accurately and continously measure your heart rate. Using a heart rate monitor is simply a smarter way to train!
While there are variations of heart rate tools on the market, the best is still a two piece system that includes a chest strap (transmitter) and a wristwatch (receiver). Don't let the buttons scare you away from using a monitor. Typically one button is designated as the "mode" button and by pressing that button, you can toggle between time and heart rate. Some watches have more features such as stopwatch and recall/time in zone and this information is often reached via the same mode button. Most personal trainers can assist you with getting a "continuous-read" heart rate number on your monitor.
The best way to start making sense of your heart rate monitor is to just wear it and observe. Wear it everywhere...to the store, to the gym, at the office, even to bed! Write down what happens at different times of day during different activities. Wear your monitor while working out and record your highs and lows and averages. Take notes on what heart rates are difficult for you to reach and sustain and what heart rates are easy. Classes with a qualified personal trainer are a great way to learn what your numbers mean.
Edward Health & Fitness Centers at Seven Bridges is offering Sub Max Testing Workshops every month. In these 60-minute workshops, you will get an estimate of your maximum heart rate, threshold heart rate, and recovery heart rates through a variety of simple heart rate tests. Participants should not exercise for 24-48 hours prior to being tested. To register, contact Jenny Ibrahim at (630) 646-7913 or for more information, contact Paula McBride at (630) 646-7929.