Staying In Your Heart Rate Zone, Maximizes Your Fitness Routines!

Posted by Beth Hartman

Anyone can go through the motions of working out, hitting that treadmill, lifting some iron and working up a sweat. But if your goal is to push your body through the fitness grind, with the goal of getting that body of yours toned up and ready for a summer beach, are you sure you're going about it the right way?

Today, most fitness trainers will tell you that in order maximize your fitness training in the amount of time that’s available to you on a regular basis you need to get the most out of what you’re asking your body to accomplish for you. And that means by monitoring your heart rate as you work out!

To achieve your fitness goals of strengthening and toning those muscles and your body, you need to find the heart-rate zone where your workout yields safe, efficient and beneficial results.

You first need to understand your maximum heart rate (MHR), or the peak amount of beats your heart has the potential to reach. Now a straightforward way to calculate this is by subtracting your age from 220. For example, if you're 45 years old, subtract 45 from 220 to get an MHR of 175.

Once you know your MHR, calculate your desired heart rate training zone, i.e. the level at which your heart is being exercised and conditioned but not overworked.

The American Heart Association recommends a general target heart rate of:

Moderate Exercise Intensity: 50 to about 70 percent of your MHR
Vigorous exercise intensity: 70 to about 85 percent of your MHR

Now if you’re just starting out with an exercise program, aim for the lower end of your target zone. Then, gradually build up the intensity. If you are healthy, and regularly take part in a fitness routine, opt for the higher end of the zone. But first, and this is important, you had better check with your family doctor to make sure you’re physically capable of starting a new exercise program. You need to be in a moderately healthy physical shape before you begin any strenuous exercise program, where you’re going to be pushing your body, and your doctor can monitor you to make sure you won’t cause yourself any problems. Usually, they are only too happy to support a person who is looking to getting back on the good side of that bathroom scale.

There are two tried and true methods to know if you're in your target heart rate zone:

The Manual Method: Stop exercising for a moment and take your pulse for 15 seconds over your carotid artery. Place your index and third fingers on your neck to the side of your windpipe. Multiply this number by four to calculate your beats per minute.

The Tech Way: Most smartwatches today have the capability of providing you with your Maximum Heart Rate and what your recommended “Target Heart Rate” should be. Most Garmin fitness watches, with the Heart Rate capability, can provide you with this information simply after you enter the necessary information regarding creating your profile. One such watch that fits the bill is the Garmin Vivoactive 3 Smart Activity Tracker  While it is an excellent runner’s watch, it also provided double duty as being an “All-Around” Activity Tracker as well, capable of monitoring your heart rate performance with the new “Elevate Heart Rate Technology! This watch comes preloaded with various sports activity programs that allow you to select the sports activity your taking part in, while your watch will be monitoring your progress.

Setting Up Those Max Heart Rate Zones: A heart rate zone is a set range of heart beats per minute. The five commonly accepted heart rate zones are numbered from 1 to 5 according to increasing intensity. Generally, heart rate zones are calculated based on percentages of your maximum heart rate. This is just some basic information provided by Garmin to show you how easy it is to set up and monitor your Max Heart Rate Zones.

The Garmin device with this capability uses your user profile information from the initial setup to determine your default heart rate zones. For the most accurate calorie data during your activity, set your maximum heart rate. You also can set each heart rate zone and enter your resting heart rate manually. You can adjust your zones manually on the device or use your Garmin Connect™ account.

Whichever method you use to determine your Maximum Heart Rate and Target Levels, using this information to monitor your progress is essential to your getting the most out of your workouts. By making use of this technology and having your watch send that data once created, up to Garmin Connect you will have access to it in order to track your progress and to see in what areas you need to improve on, especially if you want to get that toned body in time for the summer sun.

So, doesn’t it make sense to get the most out of your workouts by knowing and managing your own, Heart Rate Zone?

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