You hear about heart rate monitors all the time while working out, but why are they so important? This week we are going to explore the importance of having a heart rate monitor. You do not need to be an Olympic athlete in training to benefit from a heart rate monitor. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention it is recommended that adults should exercise at a moderate intensity (50-70 percent of maximum heart rate) for at least 30 minutes 5 days a week, or at a vigorous intensity (70-80 percent) for 20 minutes three days a week. At this point you may be asking yourself “How do I know my maximum heart rate?” The formula is extremely easy, don’t worry. To find your maximum heart rate, you simply take 220 and subtract your age. Depending upon where you want to work that day, simply multiply by the percentage. So if you’re 26 like me, it would look like this:
220 – 26 = 194
If I were working at 50%, I take 194 and multiply by .5, which would be 97.
If I were working at 70%, I take 194 and multiply by .7, which would be 135ish. So when working at moderate intensity my heart rate should be between 97 beats per minute and 135 beats per minute. Repeat this formula with 80% to find your vigorous intensity exercise zone.
Are you trying to lose weight? Wearing a heart rate monitor will tell you if you are elevating your heart rate enough to burn fat. To lose weight, experts suggest that you exercise at a pace between 60-70 percent of your maximum heart rate for 30 minutes or more, with short intervals at higher intensity. Doing this will allow you to burn stored up body fat and improve your resting heart rate.
If you have a limited amount of time to work out you want to make sure you are getting the most bang for your buck. If you are only exercising by feel or time you may not be getting the best work out for your time. Monitoring your heart rate enables you to set a pace without wasting your time at a too slow pace.
Heart rate monitors are great early warning signals. A monitor can tell you if you are getting sick, fatigued, or fatigued from over training. If your heart rate is higher while working out look in to these things. For more information, please contact the Wayne County YMCA at (570) 253-2083, or visit us online at ymcawayne.com.