Can a Heart Rate Monitor Help Improve My Workouts?
Measuring your heart rate is one of the best ways to see the effectiveness of a workout, especially a cardiovascular workout. A strong heart is essential as it can pump more blood throughout the body for each beat. As such, when we work out, we’re aiming to improve our heart’s ability to pump more blood per beat. Like any muscle, our heart becomes stronger as we exercise it.
But how do we know that we’re giving our heart the exercise we need? By measuring our heart rate as we exercise of course.
The importance of raising your heart rate
A heart rate monitor is a great way of seeing the effectiveness of a workout. As we exercise our body, it demands more oxygen, which is supplied by the heart pumping blood through our cardiovascular system, picking up the oxygen from our lungs and delivering it around the body.
As such, if you’re not pushing your heart rate, you’re not pushing your body. You’re not likely to see either an increase in cardiovascular strength nor body strength.
Measuring your heart rate
With a heart rate monitor, you should first find out what your resting heart rate (or RHR) is. Simply put, this is your heart rate at the average point of the day while resting. On average, it’s between 60 and 80 for men and 70 to 90 for women. If it’s higher than that range, it may be a sign of poor heart health.
Your maximum heart rate is the peak amount of beats per minute that your heart can reach. However, it’s impractical and unwise to try figuring this out outside of a fitness laboratory. A good estimate is to subtract your age from the number 220. For a 30 year, for instance, the MHR should be around 190. This isn’t precise to the individual, but it has been developed by scientists to match the rate found during a lab test.
Your training heart rate, the rate you should be aiming for, can be anything between 50% or 70% of your maximum heart rate. In most cases, it’s wise to start off at the lower end of the scale and keep working your way up as you get more comfortable and competent with your exercise routine. From there, you warm-down after the exercise to your recovery heart rate, which shouldn’t be much more than 20 beats above your usual resting heart rate.
Why heart rate monitors are so useful
Essentially, heart rate monitors empower you to get more out of each workout. You have a clear goal, a number that you need to reach to make sure that you truly are doing the work necessary to get the results that you need. If you’re not reaching your goals, then failing to give your heart the workout that it needs may very well be the case. You can’t hide from the heart rate monitor, you’re either achieving the target heart rate or you’re not. It simplifies things, while also making them more measurable.
At HealthSPORT we specifically use My Zone Heart Monitors. With our large screens at the Arcata and McKinleyville clubs showing your heart rate range, you can stay on top of your heart rate throughout your entire workout conveniently and effectively.