What's the key to maximizing your heart health? Well that's simple. You need to regularly push yourself to the point that your body is working as hard as it can without putting yourself at risk for harm or injury. How can you do this? The easiest way is to use a heart rate monitor.
So, if you want to improve your heart health, read on to see how making good use of a heart rate monitor can not only give you better workouts, but a healthier heart too.
Why monitor your heart: Unless you're diagnosed with heart disease, most of us take our beating hearts for granted. Get in your 40s, 50s or 60s, and you become acutely aware of the role the heart plays as an essential part of your health, well-being not to mention - your ability to stay alive.
When the heart is working smoothly, you're able to easily burn the most amount of calories while feeling your best during a workout. But because appropriate tempos change in direct correlation to your age, it may be difficult to figure out just how hard and fast to push yourself during a routine. This is why a heart rate monitor is your best workout buddy.
How to use a heart rate monitor: These gizmos are rather simple to use. All you basically have to do is strap it onto your wrist, or chest, and start working out. The monitor does the rest. During the times you're working out at your peak, and are feeling good about it, take some time to check the monitor and note the numbers. They may indicate your hearts sweet spot target rate for you to aspire toward during future bouts of exercise.
In fact, it may not be a bad idea to go ahead and strap on that heart rate monitor even when you're not working out. Wear it while you're going through your daily routine - working, eating, or going to the store. Doing so will give you a baseline to determine how hard your heart works during its normal course of the day. Then, when you start exercising, you will have a realistic idea of how challenging (or not) your routine is.
Bear in mind that there are medical recommendations for target heart rate zones and maximum heart rates based upon your age. For an easy guide to determine your appropriate rate range, click here.
Monitor your improvement: You know that the purpose of regular exercise is to keep you moving toward a goal. The interesting thing about cardiovascular training is that when you improve your condition, your heart rate does something funny. It actually beats more slowly. 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 as dramatic as when you were in your 20s, but a benefit of consistent exercise is this; your heart doesn't have to exert itself as hard as it once did, because you’ve trained it to become more efficient at doing its job.
Take it to heart: Information is only as useful as you make it. So once you have determined 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 rate to maintain that rhythm and pace until your workout time is done.
Maybe you just exercise for the fun of it and are not interested in knowing your heart rate, no problem. Heart rate monitors aren’t everyone's thing. But do pay attention and listen to your body. It will tell you whether it can be pushed a little harder, or is operating at its maximum and needs a little less intensity.
Have questions about monitoring your heart health? Feel free to contact me or leave a comment. I'm here to help!
Keep moving toward a better you!