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Heart Rate Monitors

By lisa.klein - Posted on 22 April 2013

I had a friend ask me this weekend about heart rate monitors. She just started using one and mentioned that it beeps at what the monitor considers her top number in her heart rate range but feels like she isn't exercising at her peak at that point. I told her that she was probably more fit than what the heart rate monitor's range was for women her age. This is good information for those of us who use one to remember that we enter our data such as sex, age, height, weight and the monitor will calulate what our training zones are based on this and where the average participant would be. Often times, however, a person who has been working out for years and is very fit will be able to comfortably go beyond that top number and be able to benefit from doing so. Remember that the monitor is just another tool and the best tool is our own perceived exertion. We may have to adjust those ranges based on our fitness level. For example, if your monitor beeps or flashes at 155, you may be able to go beyond this if you are not breathless. A good way to tell is to push that number higher and see when you feel breathless and monitor how long you can hold it there. Usually you shouldn't be able to maintain it for more than 30-60 seconds maximum. You will then need to slow down your activity and catch your breath with an active recovery. For those who are very fit and conditioned, don't be afraid to push out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself!


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