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Training using a heart rate monitor can help you maximize your performance and endurance, but workout novices may not know how to take full advantage of this tool. Just like the muscles in your arms, your heart will become stronger after each workout, but only if you know how to train. To keep your heart strong for the rest of your life, follow these essential training tips.
Step 1: Knowing Your Resting Heart Rate
Every person is unique and has a different heart rate profile, so it can be difficult to train without knowing where to start. The average resting heart rate for adults ranges from 60 to 100 beats per minute, with a lower heart rate implying a more effective heart function. However, some medications or supplements can increase resting heart rate, so monitor this number but eating. Use this pre-workout ingredient comparison to see if stimulants, like coffee, are present.
If your heart rate is 100 or above, visit a physician for tests. You likely have or could develop cardiovascular disease, diabetes, or high cholesterol in the near future. Avoid doing a threshold heart rate test until you receive that “go ahead” from your doctor.
Step 2: Determining Your Threshold Heart Rate
A threshold heart rate is the average BPM of your heart over a certain period. Your goal is to establish a reference point to base custom heart rate zones and experience your lactate threshold. Your lactate threshold is 70-80% of your heart rate and is considered anaerobic training. Staying in this zone will help you shred fat and calories faster, but everyone’s zone is different.
How to Find Your Lactate Threshold
To find your lactate threshold, you have to perform a cardio exercise. Jogging is the most accessible workout, so be sure to wear proper shoes. Warm-up for 5 minutes by increasing your pace from a fast walk to a slow jog. After 5 minutes, start your heart rate monitor and run for 20-30 minutes straight. Go at a comfortable pace where you aren’t starting and stopping.
The last 20 minutes of your training will determine your average threshold heart rate. For example, if you have 20 numbers for each minute of exercise ranging from 150-160, you would average around 155 bpm. For a 20-30-year-old, the aver lactate threshold is between 100-170 bpm, and the maximum heart rate would be about 200 bpm, making 155 bpm accurate.
Step 3: When to Use Heart Rate Monitors
Not every run needs to stay near your max heart rate because doing this type of training will quickly tire you out. Using a heart rate monitor will help you control the intensity during your runs, so you’re less likely to overexert yourself. You’ll always know how hard the session was for your body, and you can monitor how effective your training is at lowering your resting heart rate.
In the beginning, it’s better to start at a low intensity and work towards high. While you won’t reap the benefits of consistent hard training, you will recover faster and put yourself in a position of increasing the number of runs you take per week.
Step 4: When to Not Use Heart Rate Monitors
Even the best heart rate monitors can give inaccurate readings during intense exercise. Your heart rate won’t jump to a new rhythm instantaneously; it needs a few seconds to catch up with your intensity. You may find that your heart rate doesn’t reach the desired zone for shorter intervals or HIIT training, so you may need to ignore this number or continue doing long jogs.
However, knowing where your lactate threshold lies can help you determine how you feel when you do reach that desired heart rate. At 70-80% of your maximum heart rate, you’ll feel shortness of breath, lightheadedness (a runner’s high), and you may forget muscle soreness. If you feel light-headed to the point you’re going to pass out, you’re working out too intensely and need to stop.