From the weekend exerciser to the professional athlete, heart rate monitors are the most ideal way to make your workouts much more effective, thereby increasing your fitness level while creating a healthier lifestyle. In my opinion, everybody should be wearing a HR monitor every time they exercise.A heart rate monitor allows you to monitor your heart rate with a quick glance at a wristwatch that is constantly receiving your heart rate from a wireless transmitter belt worn around the lower part of your chest.Today’s heart rate monitors come with a wide variety of functions and are extremely affordable. The one thing all heart rate monitors do is what gives them their name – they monitor your heart rate, so you don’t have to continuously stop to take your heart rate or guess at what it might be. Simple heart rate monitors will usually just give you an accurate heart rate display on the wristwatch. Some will tell the time of day and/or have a stopwatch function, allowing the user to get by with wearing just one watch while exercising. Other functions of heart rate monitors include a countdown timer, lap counter, back light illumination, target zone settings with audible out-of-zone alarm, time in training zone display, average heart rate display, and day/date calendar. Some monitors are even capable of downloading your workout information into your personal computer with the use of an interface adapter. Polar
are two companies that make great monitors.
Heart rate monitors work the best when a runner, cyclist, or triathlete knows how to properly use them. Putting the monitor on to see your heart rate can be interesting and fun, but it will be most valuable to your health and fitness program if you know how to properly monitor your heart. The maximum aerobic heart rate formula developed by Dr. Phil Maffetone is a great way to help you determine at what heart rate you should be exercising most often. Follow the guidelines below to see what HR you should be exercising at.
||Subtract your age from 180
||Modify this number by choosing below:
||If you have or are recovering from a major illness or if you are on medication, subtract an additional 10
||If you have not exercised before or have been exercising but have been injured, sick, going “down hill” or have asthma or allergies, subtract an additional 5
||If you have been exercising for more than two years and making progress without any problems, add 5
||If you have been exercising for up to two years without any significant problems, then keep the result of 180 – your age
Now that you have your Maximum Aerobic Heart Rate number, it is important that you exercise accordingly with a proper warm up and cool down.
- Warm-Up for 10-15 minutes at a heart rate of 10-15 beats below your Max HR.
- Exercise at an intensity 0-5 beats below your max heart rate, but not over
- Cool-Down for 10-15 minutes at a HR similar to the warm-up, but now with decreasing intensity.
If you plan to exercise only 20-30 minutes, your workout will be a warm-up & cool-down.
This formula is ideal if you’re starting an exercise program and is also perfect for any experienced athlete as it correlates with their aerobic training zone. Read more about aerobic and anaerobic here.