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What is heart rate?The simple observation that the harder we exercise, the faster our heart beats can be put to good use. Your monitor is your rev counter, giving a precise measurement of your exercise intensity.
Heart rate is the number of heart beats per minute; the times per minute that the heart contracts.
What is average heart rate?
The average of heart rates measured during an exercise period.
What is recovery heart rate?
Heart rate (bpm) for instance at one minute after an exercise period.
What is resting heart rate?
Resting heart rate (Resting HR) is the number of beats in one minute when you are at complete rest. Your resting heart rate indicates your basic fitness level. The more well conditioned your body, the less effort and fewer beats per minute it takes your heart to pump blood to your body at rest.
How to determine resting heart rate?
Immediately after awakening and before you get out of bed, measure your heart rate using your heart rate monitor or from the palpitating pulse from artery, counting the beats for 15 seconds and multiplying by four. You can sleep with your heart rate monitor on and in the morning read it first thing. Be aware of the fact that, if your bladder is full in the morning, you didn't sleep well, or you're feeling stressed, you might have a slightly elevated resting heart rate. Take these measurements for five consecutive days and find the average. This average is your actual resting heart rate. Resting heart rate is dependent on your living habits and a number of factors such as quality of sleep, stress level, and eating habits.
What is maximum heart rate?
Maximum Heart Rate (Max HR) is the highest number of times your heart can contract in one minute. Max HR is the most useful tool to be used in determining training intensities, because it can be individually measured or predicted.
How to determine maximum heart rate?
You can define your maximum heart rate by
1: having it measured in an exercise test
2: using age-predicted maximum heart rate formulas.
(Note. Max HR & target zones are sport specific.
i.e. It is quite normal to have a higher Max HR for running than say, cycling, or swimming).
1: Measured Max HR the most accurate way of determining your individual maximum heart rate is to have it clinically tested (usually by treadmill stress testing) by a cardiologist or exercise physiologist. You can also measure it in field conditions supervised by an experienced coach. If you are over the age of 35, overweight, have been sedentary for several years, or have a history of heart disease in your family, clinical testing is recommended.
Self Max tests would include anything that raises your heart rate to max e.g. a hill that takes 1min to run, after a full warm up and 4/5 reps you would run down, turn and sprint up. Similarly a mile track test where you sprint the final lap. Note. This type of test requires a full warm up and full recovery before & after and should also be repeated a few weeks later to make sure. (ONLY for the fit!).
2: Predicted Maximum HR There is a mathematical formula that allows you to predict your Max HR with some accuracy. It is called the "age-adjusted formula".
The age-adjusted Max HR formula can come in very handy when you're not prepared to pay for the physician-supervised stress test.
WOMEN: 226-your age = age-adjusted Max HR
MEN: 220-your age = age-adjusted Max HR
If you are a 30-year-old woman, your age-adjusted maximum heart rate is 226- 30 years = 196 bpm (beats per minute).
These formulas apply only to adults. The generally accepted error in age-predicted formulas is + -10-15 beats per minute, which is due to different inherited characteristics and exercise training. You should remember that there may be some discrepancy when using the age-adjusted formula, especially for people who have been fit for many years or older people.
Note. 205-1/2 Age should work better for those who are already doing some form of exercise.
The formula will give you a ballpark estimate to work from, but if you want to exercise/train at your most effective levels, your Max HR should be measured.
Sub Max tests can be undertaken to give a better estimate.
Walk Test: 1mile (4x400m on a track) Keep same pace and on last lap take average HR and then add 40 for low shape, 50 for average shape and 60 for excellent shape.
Step Test: Paced at 20sets per minute (up, up, down, down being one set) 3mins with last min Average HR then adding 55 for low, 65 average or 75 for excellent shape.
Another test would be in a 3K or 5K race - "sprint" the final 1-2 mins and add 5 beats (due to muscle fatigue) to the highest number you see displayed on the watch.
What is the heart rate reserve?
Heart Rate Reserve is the difference between your Maximum Heart Rate and your Resting Heart Rate. If your maximum heart rate is 196 bpm (beats per minute) and your resting heart rate 63 bpm, your heart rate reserve is 196 bpm - 63 bpm = 133bpm.
The greater the difference, the larger your heart rate reserve and the greater your range of potential training heart rate intensities.
What is Max VO2 heart rate?
This is the heart rate at which you hit your maximal oxygen uptake effort. On the average, you hit your Max VO2 HR at 95% of your Max HR.
What is the aerobic training area?
It includes the three lowest training zones:
Moderate Activity zone, Weight Management zone and Improved Fitness zone.
What is the anaerobic threshold?
The physiological point during exercise at which muscles start using up more oxygen than the body can transport, i.e. muscle work produces more lactic acid/lactate than the body can process.
What is biofeedback?
Visual/numerical information on what is happening inside the body, for instance heart rate.
What is cardiovascular fitness, aerobic fitness?
It describes the body's ability to sustain low-intensity exercise for long periods of time.
What is an electrocardiogram (ECG)?
Electrical impulses registered from the heart.
What is the target zone?
There are four different target zones in the target zone chart. Each target zone is a zone between upper and lower target zone limits; Target zone selection is based on an individual's personal fitness goals (Moderate Activity zone, Weight Management zone, Improved Fitness zone, Increased Performance zone).
What are target zone limits?
Target zone limits are determined as percentages of maximum heart rate. The percentages are converted into heart rate in beats per minute.
What is the Increased Performance zone?
Training in this zone is effective in particular for increasing maximum performance capacity.
What is the Improved Fitness zone?
Exercising in this zone is effective in particular for improving cardiovascular fitness.
What is the Weight Management zone?
Exercising in this zone is recommended for weight management purposes.
What is the Moderate Activity zone?
Exercising in this zone is recommended for beginners, for stress reduction and for enhanced well being.
Why use a heart rate monitor?
Individualise your program. You can train at your own ideal pace.
It is precise. Direct measurement of your heart rate during exercise is simply the most accurate way to ensure that you achieve your goals.
Progress can be monitored and measured.
Witnessing your own improvement is motivating.
Maximises the benefits of exercise in the limited time of busy people.
Introduce objective observation. Are you on the right track? Are you improving?
It can take the guesswork out of your training intensity.
It can enable you to evaluate your performance more accurately and adjust your training as needed.
Training with a heart rate monitor is like having a full-time personal trainer because of the immediate feedback.
Heart rate monitoring provides the key to regulating the quantity and intensity of workouts and racing performance by providing accurate and immediate biofeedback data.
How does the Polar Heart Rate Monitor work?
Polar Heart Rate Monitors measure the electrical frequency of your heart, the number of beats per minute at which your heart is operating. In contrast, pulse meters (photo-reflectance models) use sensors to measure the mechanical pulse of blood flow through your capillaries, which is then converted into a beat-per-minute readout. Polar Heart Rate Monitors are so accurate that readings obtained simultaneously by Polar monitors and by electrocardiogram (ECG) monitors are almost identical. This is not true for photo-reflectance monitors.
If like many runners, your training follows the hard day/easy day routine, you will be accustomed to listening to your body. But how many times have you been out on an easy run and felt good so you push the pace on a little, so much so that you end up going for a burn?
On the other hand, there may be occasions when you're supposed to be putting in a hard session, but even your easy pace is a struggle.
If this sounds familiar you're more than likely to be running a hard/semi-hard routine, without allowing your body time to recover properly. By using a heart rate monitor, you can accurately gauge your efforts and improve the structure of your training in these ways:
Optimising your recovery.
Maximising your hard sessions.
Monitoring your progress.
Once you have calculated your resting and maximum heart rates you are now ready to work out each specific training zone.
The best method is to work out your heart rate reserve (or working heart rate). This is simply your maximum heart rate minus your resting heart rate, e.g. 200 - 40 = 160. Then work out the percentages (in this case, of 160) and add back on the resting heart rate afterwards.
i.e. 70% would be: 70% of 160 = 112
then + 40 (resting rate) = 152.
Training levels and what they feel like
Fat burning: 50% to 60%
feels: easy, fun, no problems chatting.
Fat is used as main fuel so longer runs should be at this level. Easy paced steady runs. Do your longest runs at this pace. Injury recovery.
Lower Aerobic: 60% to 70%
feels: fairly easy, fun, sentences aren't so long.
Upper Aerobic activity: 70% to 80%
feels: deep breathing, harder work, fun, can still chat a bit.
Steady running. Up to one hour in duration, occasionally one and a half. As you get fitter monitor these runs and see how faster you can go for the same effort.
Anaerobic threshold activity: 80% to 90%
feels: heavy breathing, but can keep the effort going without having to stop (you probably want to), very short sentences, fun, not much talking.
Continuous or repetition sessions with fairly short recoveries. A way of building up is to increase the duration of your runs at this level. Up to 45 minutes (occasionally an hour) but excellent training benefits can be had by regular thirty minute runs at this level.
Anaerobic: 90% to 95%
feels: very heavy breathing, no talking, regular recovery periods needed, fun, fairly quick (if you are fit).
Training is mainly interval or repetition training, hard short recovery work.
Lactic: 95% to 100%
feels: very heavy breathing, pain all over, long recovery, still fun!
Very intense efforts with long recoveries. Each on should be close to your maximum effort.
Biofeedback & outside influences on heart rate
You may do the same session, at the same time of day under similar conditions and yet your heart rate varies.
Obviously the lower the heart rate for the same intensity, the better. This should happen as you get fitter. However it is more likely for heart rates to be elevated. The reasons for this could be:
· Environment: Heat, Cold, Wind, Altitude
· Lack of sleep
· Recent hard training session
· Possible interference from overhead power cables, etc...
Biofeedback is one of the best uses from a heart rate monitor. Perceived exertion & actual exertion are sometimes difficult to tell unless you are an experienced runner.
After using a HRM for a few months you will become much more aware of the bond between HR and how you feel. You will be able to tell from the pace you are running and how you feel, what your heart rate is currently at to within a couple of beats.
This is most useful when the above factors do influence your body's state. e.g. If you get a cold, you will find you have an elevated heart rate for 1-2 days before you get the usual symptoms such as a runny nose.
Conversely once you feel a cold has gone, you may still find your HR 10-15 beats higher than normal on a steady run for a few days after the symptoms have passed. Thus you can adjust pace accordingly.
Another example would be if you find yourself running in higher than normal temperatures and HR is raised.