How Do You Reach Your Target Heart Rate?
From your favourite Trendy Fit columnist: Steph
You’re doing your dose of cardio at the gym, rocking to the music blasting in your ears, pumping yourself up to keep killing your cardio. You slow it down (after at least 20 minutes), look down at your machine and it’s asking you to put your hands on the sensors to calculate your heart rate. But, why do you need to know this?
If you’ve been to a gym in the last decade, all of the cardio equipment at the gym has these sensors to monitor your heart rate while you work out. Treadmills, elliptical, stationary bikes, they all want to know how fast your ticker is ticking! If your making sure to fit in all the components of fitness; strength, flexibility and cardio, you should understand why hitting your target heart rate is important to an effective cardio workout.
First you need to find out what your maximum heart rate is. A general rule of thumb used is to take 220 and subtract your age. (220-28= 192 is my max) There has been argument that this isn’t a scientific measure and might not give the most accurate reading by just using age as a bench mark. There is also belief that your maximum heart rate tells you nothing about your fitness level but at least it is a jumping off point in some way! The number we actually need to be concerned about during aerobic exercise is the target heart rate.
Why is finding out your target heart rate important to your cardio work out?
Well you’re on the treadmill and hardly breaking a sweat, you’re at the low end of your target heart rate, if you are sweating and panting like you were running for your life: you’re more then likely hitting in the zone you want to be hitting. This is where the magic happens! The point at which your body switches from using oxygen as its primary source of energy to using stored sugar is referred to as your anaerobic threshold. When you’re in poor physical shape, your body isn’t very efficient at taking in oxygen, and you hit your anaerobic threshold while exercising at relatively low levels of exercise. As you become more fit, you’re able to go farther and faster, yet still supply oxygen to your muscles. This is why knowing a number to aim for is important for effective cardio exercise.
Hitting your target heart rate means a more effective and efficient workout. Typically, your target heart rate should be between 50 to 80 percent of you maximum heart rate. Your target heart rate can tell you so much more about your body. How fit you are, how far you’ve come based on changing rates during exercise, and whether you’ve recovered from yesterday’s workout. Knowing a range to hit during your cardio workout will help you with:
- guaranteed optimal calorie and fat burning
- optimal fitness and performance improvement
- maximize your enjoyment of exercise time
Typically all cardio equipment comes with a basic monitor to measure heart rate. If you are interested in knowing exactly what you’re hitting during your aerobic exercise, you can pick up a heart rate monitor for fairly cheap. Generally, the more you spend the more accurate they are. Some of these monitors will even sync to your smart phone and help you with the motivating factors so many of us need while pumping out our cardio exercise. (You know, something to tell you to speed it up you’re not working out hard enough!?) We can all use that bit of motivation from time to time!
After reading this, please don’t feel the need to run out and spend lots of money on a gym membership, heart rate monitors and all the fancy gadgets. I want to just get you excited about cardio; which so often can be the boring parts of your workout! The great thing about cardio is there is no equipment needed to do it, all you need is to move your body!
A good rule of thumb for cardio is a minimum of 20 minutes and if you aren’t panting for air and sweating buckets afterwards; chances are you didn’t have an effective cardio workout! Cardio vascular health is important factor of your fitness. The more knowledge you have about why it is important is only going to benefit you in the end, and that’s what its all about!
[quote_center]Get those hearts pumping![/quote_center]
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