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Monday, June 22, 2009

Heart Rate Monitors

You don't need one. But, I've found that wearing one helps me to see just how hard I'm working when I'm training.

This is my heart rate monitor that I wear on my wrist:

And this is the strap that is worn around the chest:

For an aerobic workout, to build fitness, you want to aim for 60 to 80% of your predicted maximal heart rate (PMHR). Your PMHR is approximately 220-age.

So, for a 50 year-old person, PMHR is 170 beats per minute. The target range for a workout should be 102-136 beats per minute. You can allow your heart rate to go higher, which would put you into the anaerobic phase, using more glycogen for fuel than fat.


Gretchen said...

That heart rate monitor is really very useful. I will certainly visit Dicks Sporting Goods to get one for me.

Ruth said...

Does the 80% calculation apply equally to swimming, biking and running? I do all three, and seem to be able to achieve the 80% only in running. Some trainers have commented that swimming and biking may be different, and that a lower heart rate could still indicate an effective workout. As a triathlete and cardiologist, can you comment on this?

VeganHeartDoc said...

Ruth -- you are correct. When my heart rate is 150 while running, I'm feeling like I'm not working that hard, but if it's 150 while swimming or biking then I'm definitely pushing myself. So I agree, a lower heart rate for some sports may still indicate a good workout.