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WHY HEART RATE MONITORS FOR FITNESS

Exercise equipment has advanced tremendously over the last decade. Today you can run on your treadmill at home, and then slide it under your bed. At the gym, you can choose a program that will all but exercise for you. But, while there are smarter machines, there are still more people not reaching their exercise goals. Why? Because they were never taught how to exercise correctly.

The 'no pain, no gain" theory is alive and well in most gyms and households today. People believe that they have to go all out to get the best workout possible. What happens then is the majority of people quit because exercise is too hard. Does that sound like you?

Maybe you have stuck it out, but just can't seem to get those last few pounds off. And it's not from lack of effort. You put your time in at the gym or on your home exercise equipment. But are you sure that you're exercising according to what your goals are? If not, a heart rate monitor may be just the key to get you the results you're looking for.

To understand how an HRM can help you, we established the Polar 3 Point Message:

  1. In order to reach your fitness goals, you need to exercise at the right intensity.
  2. Heart rate is the only accurate measurement of your intensity or your exertion level.
  3. A Polar HRM is the easiest and most accurate way to continuously measure your heart rate.

A heart rate monitor is a tool that will help pace you. If you exercise too hard, you will most likely quit before you get the real benefit. We have all seen the person who gets on the treadmill, cranks it up to 8% grade and 8 mph, runs full out for 2 minutes, and gets off. ALL THEY DID WAS WASTE TWO MINUTES OF THEIR TIME!

On the other hand, there are people who exercise very leisurely and wonder why they can't lose any weight. If you workout too slowly, you won't get the exercise benefit either.

That's where the HRM comes in. It paces you during your workout. It's like having a personal trainer that tells you to slow down or speed up. It also helps you diversify your workout and integrate different activities so you don't get bored. Right now, how would you know that you're getting a similar workout from a treadmill, a weight circuit or jumping rope? You probably really can't tell. It's not how you feel, or how much you are perspiring. Your heart rate can tell you. With a heart rate monitor you can ensure that you're working out at the right intensity, no matter what activity you choose. Run on a treadmill, jump rope, in-line skate, go for a hike...these can all be parts of an effective exercise program because now you can tell what kind of workout you're getting. The HRM makes that possible.

If you are new to exercise, it can be daunting to walk into the gym and figure out what to do. You get on a piece of equipment and it?s asking you for level, speed, incline. How do you know what?s right? All you have to do is figure out your 60-70% Target Zone, program it into your heart rate monitor, start the equipment and go. You can elevate the level, speed, whatever?..just make sure whatever you are doing, your heart rate stays in that zone. It takes the guesswork out of exercise and gives you the confidence to know that you?re doing it right.

If you're very new to the concept of heart rate training, you might be wondering WHAT'S AN HRM. It consists of a watch worn on your wrist, and a transmitter that you comfortably wear against your skin and around your chest. The transmitter picks up the signals of your heart, and sends them wirelessly to the watch you wear on your wrist. It's that simple. No wires, no stopping to take your pulse and doing a multiplication equation. Just look at your wrist and it's there. AND THE KEY, IT'S DISPLAYED CONTINUOUSLY. The continuous display is what makes it effective. It's there guiding you during your whole workout.

Your home equipment, or the cardio machine that you use at the gym, may already have Polar technology built into it. That means that all you have to do is wear a Polar transmitter and the machine can track your heart rate during your exercise. There are even machines that are heart rate controlled and will adjust the speed based on your own heart rate. Look for the Polar logo on these machines and start getting a more effective workout.

Here's how you can integrate an HRM into your exercise program

There are specific Target Zones (TZ) that help guide you to the right intensity. A TZ is a high and low heart rate range that is based on a percentage of your maximum heart rate. You can use a formula based on your age, you can figure out your maximum heart rate. You then take percentages of that to get your Target Zones.

Another option is the OwnZone? feature that is built into our M-Series products. During a brief warm-up, these models will automatically establish your 65-85% target zone for that day based on your body?s fitness. If you are doing a longer workout, stay in the lower end of that range. If you are looking for a shorter, more intense workout, just stay in the upper half of that zone. It?s that simple! There is also an OwnCal? feature that will allow you to accurately track the calories that you burn.

Key Target Zones

60-70% of max HR Good for weight loss, building endurance or recovery
70-80% " " " Good for improving cardiovascular fitness
80%+ " " " Interval workouts

Example:

Dennis is 45 years old, wants to lose weight, and exercises three days a week, sometimes for 10 minutes, sometimes for 20 minutes and is just not sure how hard to go.

*His estimated max heart rate is 220-(age) 45=175

The recommended target zone is 60-70 %
60% of 175=105
70% of 175=123

Dennis?s target zone is 105-123

Dennis should exercise three days a week for at least 30 minutes and keep his heart rate between 105 and 123 for effective weight loss. IT'S THAT SIMPLE!

If you are trying to improve your overall fitness, you need to vary your workouts. Your body is smart and adapts to routine. If you follow the same program, and have so for a while, you may have hit a plateau. Variety is the key here. Approach your workouts like an athlete does. They focus on different workouts on different days. Have an endurance day when you go longer at an easier pace than you usually do (60-70% TZ). Do a tempo workout another day staying below 80%. Do an interval workout like hill repeats, or speed intervals where you pick up the speed for 1 minute, rest for three minutes and repeat it again. These are the kinds of workouts that will help get you over the hump. Approach your workouts like an athlete, preparing yourself the most effective way that you can.

You can even track improvements beyond getting on a scale. Look for lowered resting heart rate as a key indicator. For a more effective measure, the Polar M52 and M91 will perform a fitness test while you are sitting in a chair - OwnIndex? feature. You can establish your baseline fitness, then take monthly tests with the M52 and easily track your improvements.

 

 
 

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