Saturday, May 12, 2007

Tools of the trade - Heart Rate Monitors

Target heart rate training is a very important component to maximizing results in your cardio program. There are a few different techniques to monitoring your intensity, from quick pulse checks to the use of heart rate monitors.

A quick pulse check is a cheap and easy way to make sure you're on track. It is however, not 100 percent accurate and many errors can occur that greatly effect the outcome. To determine if you're working within your training zone, locate your radial artery at the side of your wrist with your index finger, and count the beats for 10 seconds, then multiply by 6. This result should be within the minimum and maximum training heart rate values of your cardio program.

For a more accurate and scientific approach, you can use a heart rate monitor. Heart rate monitors measure your heart rate during exercise without you having to stop and count, thus eliminating human error. There can be dramatic changes in fitness and body composition among individuals who train with a heart rate monitor. Heart rate monitors provide immediate feedback of intensity throughout an entire exercise session, and above all else, they are easy to use. Once an individual is educated on the science of heart rate zone training, the use of a heart rate monitor becomes as important as wearing a pair of shoes.

A heart rate monitor is a transmitter equipped with electrode strapped to the chest to record the heart’s electrical impulses and radio precise measurements of the heart rate to a receiver worn on the wrist. Through the measurement of heart rate, trainers and exercisers can structure productive routines and workouts. Heart rate monitors range from basic models that simply provide a continuous readout to more complex mechanisms that store times spent in various zones and download data to a personal computer.

Heart rate monitors can be very useful for outdoor athletes who are too busy clinging to rocks or running through streams, or the gym rat who wants to track the intensity of their routine. They're a great gadget for any fitness enthusiast!

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