Heart Rate Information

By Stephen Ashton

Even though the heart rate is a huge element to achieving an optimal workout, and its been around forever, many individuals do not know what theirs is, or how to measure it, or even to care about it. So I am going to clarify this simple yet important component to fitness.

Over time, your heart becomes more efficient at delivering the oxygen and fuel required by the muscles to maintain this higher level of performance. The skeletal muscles also becomes better at extracting oxygen from the bloodstream. With continued consistent exercise, the cardiovascular system continues to consistently improve.

- track your heart rate while you exercise, getting a heart rate monitor is helpful

- resting heart rate (measured in beats per minute) is averagely about 70 bpm for men and 75 bpm for women

- know your max heart rate - subtract your age from 220. Example if you are 28 years old your max heart rate would be 192, it's going to be an estimated number and will vary for each person but this is the number you don't want to go over

- find your target heart rate, there are a few methods for doing this

- Karvonen method

The Karvonen method factors in Resting Heart Rate (HRrest) to calculate Target Heart Rate (THR):

THR = ((HRmax "" HRrest) Ã- %Intensity) + HRrest

Example for someone with a HRmax of 180 and a HRrest of 70:

50% intensity: ((180 - 70) Ã- 0.50) + 70 = 125 bpm
85% intensity: ((180 - 70) Ã- 0.85) + 70 = 163 bpm

- Zoladz method

An alternative to the Karvonen method is the Zoladz method, which derives exercise zones by subtracting values from HRmax.

THR = HRmax "" Adjuster ± 5 bpm
Zone 1 Adjuster = 50 bpm
Zone 2 Adjuster = 40 bpm
Zone 3 Adjuster = 30 bpm
Zone 4 Adjuster = 20 bpm
Zone 5 Adjuster = 10 bpm

Example for someone with a HRmax of 180:

Zone 1 (easy exercise) : 180 - 50 = 130; ± 5 ? 125 to 135 bpm

Zone 4 (tough exercise): 180 - 20 = 160; ± 5 ? 155 to 165 bpm

- And a third and less scientific way is some people simply increase their goal heart rate by 5 each week

- heart rate abnormalities, while not common do exist and would be identified by your doctor, if you experience these you should discuss all exercise plans with your physician before beginning

- Know how to take your pulse properly. 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. Always check your pulse frequently throughout your workout to make sure you within your target heart rate zone.

- Know when to slow down. Even without a heart rate monitor, you need to know when to begin to slow back down. A good indicator is becoming breathless, you should be able to talk and carry on mild conversation while exercising, not be breathless.

- don't just stop, cool down

Knowing this simple information will help you greatly in evaluating your progress when training to get fit, or when training to compete. You can develop your training sessions and know what you need to change or add in your program by being in tune to your Heart Rate.

Target heart rate training provides a scientific approach to tracking your improving levels of fitness. With a decent heart rate monitor, it becomes easier to monitor your workouts. It allows you to measure exercise intensity independently of what activity is being performed by focusing on heart rate as the measure of exercise intensity.

If you haven't been making the kind of progress you know you are capable of, you might consider this methodical approach to improving fitness!

Bristol Chiropractic specialise in treating all types of back and neck pain including sciatica and disc problems, whiplash injuries, neck and arm pain, tennis elbow and shoulder problems, hip pain, knee problems and foot pain, headaches and sports injuries. Our office is located at the Chiron Centre in Westbury-on-Trym.

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