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Heart Zone Training

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Updated May 16, 2014

Pulse Monitor Fitness Watch

Pulse Monitor Fitness Watch

© alexey_boldin / Depositphotos.com

Cardiovascular exercise relies on frequency, intensity and duration for effectiveness. How do you know you are exercising at the correct intensity? Your heart rate is the best way to judge intensity. Take your heart rate five minutes after the start of your exercise session and take it again before you go into your cool down.

How to Measure Your Heart Rate via Your Pulse

You can find your pulse at your neck (carotid artery) or wrist (radial artery). Use a finger rather than your thumb to find the artery and the pulse.

You will need a watch that displays seconds. You can take your pulse for 6 seconds and multiply by 10 to get the beats per minute (bpm). For example, if you counted 8 beats in 6 seconds, your bpm is 8 x 10 = 80. You could also count it for a full 60 seconds, but it usually is not easy or convenient to do that while still exercising. Or you can increase the accuracy by counting for 12 seconds and multiplying by 5, but doing math while exercising may be a challenge.
How to Take Your Exercise Pulse

Measuring Your Heart Rate with a Heart Monitor

Heart rate monitors typically use a chest strap to measure your heart rate. These gadgets range in price from $40 and up, and are the most accurate method. They transmit the data to a wrist unit so you can see your heart rate throughout your workout. Models include many other features with increasing price, such as tracking your heart rate zones, stopwatch features, calories burned and more. Other kinds of heart rate monitors include handgrip pulse monitors on treadmills, and pulse monitors where you place one or two fingers on a sensor for a reading.
Before You Buy a Heart Rate Monitor

Heart Zone Training

Are you training too intensely, or are you not putting enough into your workout to get the best results? If you know your maximum heart rate (MHR) you can use heart zone training to gear your workout to the correct intensity.

Maximum Heart Rate

Your maximum heart rate is as fast as your heart can beat. This varies for each person, but age is generally used as a guide for what your maximum heart rate is likely to be. A more individualized number can be provided by testing by an athletic trainer, or as a function of some of the more expensive heart rate monitors. Our heart rate calculator is age-based and you can use it to see your maximum heart rate and also to find out bpm for target heart rates based on percentages of the maximum heart rate. Heart Rate Calculator

Next: The Five Heart Rate Zones

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