How Do I Use a Heart Rate Monitor?

How Do I Use a Heart Rate Monitor?
In cardio-vascular training, different levels of heart rate condition the body in different ways. There is a heart rate for maximizing fat burning, and a heart rate for training for speed. Keeping a workout in the right heart rate zone virtually requires the use of an electronic aid like a heart rate monitor, since it is the only realistic way to get accurate heart rate information in the middle of a workout. Using one properly is a simple matter of having some good starter information and knowing what the numbers mean.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Step 1
Calculate your maximum heart rate. If you only need a general approximation, then use this formula: 210 - 1/2 your age - 5 percent of your weight = maximum heart rate in beats per minute. Men then add 4, but women do not. A 37-year-old man who weighs 190 lbs. would fill in the formula like this: 210 - 18.5 - 9.5 + 4 = 186 beats per minute. More exact statistics can be achieved using sport-specific methods.
Step 2
Check the monitor and achieve a sustainable workout by keeping your heart rate in a zone that is between 60 and 70 percent of the maximum. The man from the example needs to be between 111 and 130 beats per minute to do that.
Step 3
Improve the efficiency of the body's cardio-vascular system by taking part or much of the workout up a notch. Bringing the heart rate up to between 70 and 80 percent of its maximum will improve the body's ability to get oxygen to the muscles, as well as maximize fat burning. That rate is 130 to 149 for the man from our example.
Step 4
Condition the body's ability to remove lactic acid, a waste toxin, from its muscles by raising the heart rate to between 80 and 90 percent of its maximum. A workout for any serious sports activity should include a period of anywhere from a few to several minutes in this period, and perhaps more than one. This zone is between 149 and 160 for the man from the example.
Step 5
Go flat out and raise the heart rate to between 90 and 100 percent of its maximum to increase speed. Once again, any workout that is training an athlete for a competitive sport should include at least one period where this heart rate is achieved, but it will necessarily need to be a short one of only a few minutes or less.
Step 6
Adjust your workout as your conditioning improves. Improved physical fitness means it will require harder, more intense exercise to raise the heart rate into the chosen beat per minute zone.
Step 7
Reduce your maximum heart rate statistic by 1 beat per minute at each birthday. Typically, the maximum heart rate of humans declines by 1 for every year in age.


Article Written By Edwin Thomas

Edwin Thomas has been writing since 1997. His work has appeared in various online publications, including The Black Table, Proboxing-Fans and others. A travel blogger, editor and writer, Thomas has traveled from Argentina to Vietnam in pursuit of stories. He holds a Master of Arts in international affairs from American University.

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