Why You Should Heart Rate Train
Monitoring your heart rate while exercising is all about increasing your physical awareness, and it’s important to your health journey for many reasons. It’s a way to put a number to the intensity of your workout and how hard your body is working. Heart rate training can better enable you to either lose or maintain body weight and improve overall fitness by avoiding over- and under-training. It reduces triglyceride, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels to improve insulin sensitivity and help lower blood pressure.
But how does heart rate training accomplish all of these benefits? Keeping track of your resting heart rate (RHR), with the help of a wristband heart rate monitor, is a good place to start. Exercisers who know their regular RHR and suddenly see it spike might be over-training, and that’s a good indicator to cut back on the high-intensity workouts.
Likewise, understanding your maximum heart rate (MHR) is helpful, too. Your MHR is the highest heart rate you can achieve during exercise. Generally, it is recommended to reach a maximum heart rate range of 50 to 85 percent to develop aerobic fitness, but of course, it varies depending on your health goals. However, if exercisers consistently do not reach, or even come near, their MHR, they are at risk of under-training, meaning they aren’t getting their heart rate high enough to burn enough calories to lose weight.
To get down to the scientific nitty-gritty of it, this training method optimizes your body’s ability to take in oxygen to fuel the production of energy, while simultaneously increasing the efficiency of burning fat as a separate source of energy. It allows for your heart rate to remain more stable, in fact, and keeps your muscles more relaxed, resulting in less risk of injury.
With all the numbers and tracking, it sounds like heart rate training could be confusing, but once you have an understanding of your own data, your body will develop a feel for what different intensities entail, and it will almost become second-nature. Whether you’re a stay-at-home mom training for your first 5K or a seasoned runner preparing for the Boston Marathon, or anywhere in between, heart rate training can boost your performance and maximize your workouts.