You've Got the Beat
Keys to Heart Rate Training
You’ve seen it in spin class, on the treadmill, advertised in magazines – just about everywhere. People all around us are strapping on heart rate monitors. So what’s with all the excitement? Heart rate monitors are one of the best ways to quickly track the cardiovascular quality of a workout, ensure that you are getting the most out of fitness time and monitor progress.
A heart rate monitor is a two-part device that shows how hard the heart is working by measuring beats-per-minute. A strap is clipped just below the chest and a real-time reading of beats–per-minute is displayed on a watch or a piece of cardio fitness equipment.
According to Life Fitness, all of their cardio machines feature an embedded Polar Heart Rate System as it’s the perfect coach or workout partner or even tool for exercisers because it clearly shows how hard the body is working.
But before strapping on a monitor, there are two sets of numbers that are essential to know to get the best workout:
- Maximum Heart Rate: Your maximum heart rate is the highest number of times your heart can beat in one minute and offers a key figure in determining training intensities. The best way to find your maximum heart rate is to be clinically tested – something not possible for most. Instead, use this formula to estimate your theoretical heart rate; subtract your age from 220.
- Ideal Training Zone: Once you know your max, you can determine your ideal heart rate ranges when exercising. If you’re a beginning exerciser, aim to work at about 50 to 60 percent of your maximum heart rate. A moderately fit person should aim for 60 to 75 percent of that number and an advanced exerciser should shoot for 70 to 85 percent.
Exercises like walking, ridding a bike or using the elliptical machines will help you to reach your ideal training zone. Adding a strength training routine or interval training on any cardiovascular activity can further increase your heart health and quality of workout.