Getting the Most Out of Your Heart Rate Monitor

understanding your heart rate monitor

Wearable technology is becoming more accessible and easier to use than ever. There are many different types such as smart watches, step trackers, heart rate monitors, calorie trackers, and workout assistants. Something that many of them have in common is a heart rate monitoring feature.

Heart rate can be a very useful tool to track not only during a workout, but overall cardiovascular health. You have probably heard terms such as “target heart rate”, “resting heart rate”, and “maximum heart rate” among other terms, but what does that mean? The good news is with our current technology, all of those will be calculated for you, but it might be wise to know more about them to use them to your advantage.

Target Heart Rate

When you hear the phrase “target heart rate”, it means a safe range of heart beats per minute when you can improve cardiovascular health during exercise without overexerting yourself. If you are exercising with the intention of improving cardio and your heart rate is lower than the target heart rate range, your device might tell you to pick up the intensity, so you are getting the most out of your workout. If your device doesn’t have that capability, or you aren’t performing a specific heartrate workout, just keep an eye on it occasionally, so you can adjust your effort accordingly to stay within the range.

Maximum Heart Rate

Maximum heart rate is the highest beats per minute that your heart can handle during exercise. Usually this number is determined by your age, but overall health, genetics, and other factors play a role as well. Usually when you first start up a smart watch or device with a health app associated with it, you will be required to create a profile or answer a health questionnaire. Answering those questions will provide your device with information to give a more accurate number for maximum heart rate. Before smart watches and hi-tech health devices, you would have to use equations to determine your heart rate information.

Resting Heart Rate

Another great way to determine your cardiovascular health is your resting heart rate. Resting heart rate will tell you how hard your heart is working while your body is at rest. The better your cardiovascular health, the lower your resting heartrate will be. A healthy range is between 60-80 beats per minute. The more you perform activities that elevate your heartrate, the stronger your heart will be and the less it needs to work during normal activities. Some professional endurance athletes will have a resting heart rate in the 40s. If you aren’t an elite athlete and your heartrate is that low, you should check with your doctor to make sure your heart is pumping enough blood to your body. In your device, usually you can create a shortcut, that with a simple tap of your finger, will tell you what your current heart rate is.

Smart devices and heart rate monitors will give you plenty of useful information; so much that it can be a little overwhelming at times. If your goal is to improve cardio to improve longevity and overall health, utilizing the heart rate features on your device is an excellent way to track progress and to make sure you are making the most of your workouts.

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