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Exercise Your Heart Rate

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While most people understand that monitoring their heart rate  is an essential part of any workout, most of them do not exactly understand why.   If you are going to engage in a regular exercise workout, it would be best to be  aware of the reasons why heart monitoring is necessary.

Cardiovascular Output

Cardiovascular output refers to the result of the heart  rate.  The heart rate is the number of times your heart beats every minute.   Monitoring heart  rate is important for two things: safety and success.

How to Check Your Heart Rate

1.) Right after you stop exercising, take your pulse: Place the tips of your first two fingers lightly over one of the blood vessels on your neck, just to the left or right of your Adam’s apple. Or try the pulse spot inside your wrist just below the base of your thumb.  Count your pulse for 10 seconds and multiply the number by 6.  Check your pulse periodically to see if you are exercising within your target zone. As you get in better shape, try exercising within the upper range of your target zone. (If just beginning an exercise program, consult your doctor first.)

What is your target zone?
Target Heart Rate Zones by Age *
Age Target Heart Rate (HR) Zone (60 – 85%) Predicted Maximum HR
20 120 – 170 200
25 117 – 166 195
30 114 – 162 190
35 111 – 157 185
40 108 – 153 180
45 105 – 149 175
50 102 – 145 170
55 99 – 140 165
60 96 – 136 160
65 93 – 132 155
70 90 – 123 150
Your Actual Values
(Actual values are determined from a graded exercise test)
Target HR: Max. HR:

Too calculate your heart rate CLICK HERE.

2.) Wear a heart rate monitor while you exercise.  This is the best and easiest way to keep track of your heart rate while exercising.  I use the Timex personnel trainer with chest strap while I exercise.  I track my heart rate as it goes above and below my workout zone.  It also monitors calories burned, workout time, peak heart rate, average heart rate and time in the “fat” burning zone.

 Safety

When you keep track of your heart rate during your exercise, you will be able  to ensure the safety of your fitness program. Beginning your exercise would make  your heart beat 60 to 100 times per minute. Your heart rate while resting would
only be 40 beats per minute. If you go beyond the normal range, you are going  beyond the safety parameters of your workout. If this is the case, you should  slow down gradually and then take a rest. If your heart rate is abnormal, you
must consult your doctor.

Success

Another good reason to record your heart rate during exercise is to gauge  your progress.  Doing this will help you achieve your desired goals.  This will help you adjust your  workout to ensure that you will.  Your heart is a muscle and just like any muscle you need to exercise your heart rate.  When you exercise your heart rate will increase, the object is to get your heart rate above your resting heart rate.   When you  monitor your heart rate and it does not go above your resting heart rate, you will know that you’re not working hard enough.

More studies are indicating that your heart rate needs to increase for a short period of time, recover and then be elevated again for a period of time.  This means that its better for your heart rate to go up and down, up and down rather than remain at the same level throughout the workout.    This is where the phrase “exercising your heart rate” comes from.  You will get better results in a shorter period of time working out with an exercise program like P90X, Insanity or Turbo Fire because you are raising your heart rate, then recovering and raising your heart rate again.  By “exercising your heart rate” you will burn more calories and burn them over a longer period of time then if you simply raised your heart rate over an extended amount of time.  Running is a great example of this.  When you run, your heart rate elevates, but after a few minutes it will level off and remains steady.  When you stop running you heart rate recovers and your calorie burn decreases quickly.  Running is great exercise but if you are looking to lose weight it is not the most effective choice.

Here is the example I like to use.  If you pick up 25 lbs dumbbells and held them in your hand for 30 minutes, just hold them not curl them.  Over time your muscles in the hand, forearm, bicep, triceps and shoulder would strengthen some what.  Agree?  Would you not get more benefit, in a shorter period of time if you performed curls at 3 sets of 10 which will take you approximately 10 to 15 mins to perform.  The reason this works best is that you are raising and lowering the weight or exercising the muscle therefore it will respond to the resistance and grow in half the time.  Again, its the same with your heart rate, when you elevate it for a period of time (1, 2 or 3 minutes) then let it recover, you will see more calorie burn and more weight loss then if you simply keep your heart rate steady.

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