When it comes to cardio it can be tough to know if you are actually working hard enough. Some days just seem harder than others (and if you’re not on a tread mill, or tracking your distance and time it can be hard to keep track of your progress). Monitoring your heart rate is a great way to make sure you are getting the most out of your workouts and to see how far you’ve come. Below are some tips and tricks on monitoring your heart rate and maximizing your workouts.
Get Your Target Heart Rate Zone
Your target heart rate (THR) describes the pulse rate (in beats per minute) that allows you to exercise safely while getting the maximum benefits from your workout. This range is usually between 50% to 85% of your maximum heart rate. You can calculate target heart rate with any number of formulas:
- Karvonen Formula – Your heart rate reserve is calculated by using age and resting heart rate
- Steven’s Creek THR Formula – This online calculator involves different max heart rates according to gender and fitness level, which makes the results a bit more accurate.
Keep in mind that the results from THR formulas are just guidelines. If you follow your THR zone and realize you’re either working way too hard or not hard enough, you’ll know to adjust those numbers to fit how you’re feeling.How to Monitor Your THR by Taking Your Pulse
One way to find out how hard you’re working without any extra equipment is to take your pulse throughout your workout. Place your index and middle fingers directly under your ear, then slide your fingers down until they are directly under your jawbone, pressing lightly. Start with zero on the first beat and count for 10 seconds, then multiply by six, which gives you an approximation of your heart rate in beats per minute. For example, if you count 20 beats in 10 seconds, your approximate heart rate would be 120 beats per minute. Check your pulse frequently throughout your workout to make sure you are within your target heart rate zone.
Use a Heart Rate Monitor
Using a heart rate monitor makes it easy to keep up with your exercise intensity because they show a continuous reading of your heart rate throughout your workout. Monitor’s range anywhere from $50 to $300, offering a variety of options whether you’re a beginner or advanced athlete. Most use a chest strap to get heart rate info and some offer added features such as calories burned and time spent in target heart rate zone. For more information please visit http://exercise.about.com/cs/cardioworkouts/a/ex_intensity.htm
Here at Kalev Fitness Solution we are planning to have free weekend seminars regarding topics like this. Please keep your eye out for our Cardio Seminar coming soon!