Your heart plays an essential part in your health, well-being, and ability to stay alive. When your heart is working at its perfect tempo, you’re able to burn the most amount of calories and feel your best when you work out. Having a hard time figuring out just how hard and fast to push yourself during a routine? A heart monitor is there to help.
Once you’ve got a heart rate monitor, all you have to do is strap it on your wrist, start working out, and it does the rest. When you’re pushing yourself in the gym or on a run and are feeling good, check the monitor and take note. That is where you want your heart rate to fall in the future. It’s your heart’s sweet spot.
Actually, it’s a good idea to toss on your heart rate monitor when you’re not working out. Wear it while you’re going through your daily routine—working, eating, going to the store. This gives you a baseline to see how hard your heart works normally. So when you start exercising, you should see a sizeable change in your heart rhythm.
With the heart rate monitor on, you can quickly find your lactate threshold or redline. This is when your body switches from using mostly oxygen to using mostly glycogen during high-intensity exertion. You could go to an exercise physiologist and pay for a special test to find this out or simply note at what point in your workout you’re unable to talk without breaking up the sentence and your breathing rate suddenly increases. At this point, your pace is comfortably hard and does the most good for your health. Look at your heart rate. Keep that in mind for the next time you work out.
As you know, the goal of regular exercise is to beat your body into submission so that it is constantly improving. When you do this, your heart rate does something funny. It actually beats slower. With a heart rate monitor, you can actually monitor your overall fitness progress by watching your beats per minute drop. The change will take time and may never be dramatic, but as your body grows more accustomed to being worked hard, your heart doesn’t have to exert itself as hard as it once did, because it knows what to do and is more efficient at doing it.
Not seeing your heart rate drop? Keep working at it and stay focused on your heart rate. If it starts jumping above your sweet spot, slow down. You may hunger to push your body beyond your heart’s comfort zone, but if that means sending your heart rate into outer space, don’t do it!
Information is only useful if you use it. Once you learn your ideal heart rate, pay attention to how fast your heart is working during your routine. Then do whatever it takes to get your heart there and stay pumping at that pace until your trainer says to call it a day.
If you’re not interested in knowing your heart rate, no problem. Heart rate monitors aren’t for everyone. Just be aware of other signs that indicate whether your body can be pushed a little harder, is operating at peak performance, or needs you to back off. And if you have questions, remember, I’m here to help you meet your fitness and weight loss goals.