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Why Runners Should Use a Heart Rate Monitor

Updated on January 23, 2011

Briefly.. What is a Heart Rate Monitor?

A heart rate monitor is a device designed to monitor your heart. Although it has been around for quite a while, not many people are aware of its potential use or even its existence. Basically a heart rate monitors your heart rate while you exercise and it tells you how hard you are exercising by monitoring your heart rate. The maximum heart rate any person can achieve is based on this formula.

HR = 208 – (0.7 x Your Age), Below 40

HR = 205 – (0.5 a Your Age), Above 40

Exercising at the maximum heart rate burns the most calories but not many people can achieve their maximum heart rate. Exercising at maximum intensity also won’t help you achieve your fitness goals. This is when a heart rate monitor comes in handy.

Here are some of the most important reasons why you should use a heart rate monitor.

1. Get You On The Right Track

If you are new to running, you will realize that it is easy to start running but it is more difficult to keep the enthusiasm. One reason is because you might have not been varying your running routine enough. The other reason is because you have been too overzealous in your routine and you may have tire yourself out, thinking that you are just not cut out for running. In the early stages, a heart rate monitor keeps you working at a manageable rate that is not too strenuous for your body. Beginners should also set a target heart rate zone of about 65-75% and maintain it for most of their workouts.

A good way to start running is to run up till the upper limit of the target range and once you’ve achieved that slow down to your lower limit and repeat the cycle again and again. Maintain this for a few weeks before moving on to a higher heart rate limit.

Over time, you will achieve your running goals faster than those who haven’t used a heart rate monitor.

2. Improve Exercise Accuracy

It is going to be very difficult to keep monitoring your heart rate while you run. Stopping to measure and getting a break will definitely give you a less accurate reading of your heart rate. When you slow down your activity, your heart rate also slows down. A heart rate monitor takes the hassle of monitoring your heart while you continue with your running routine. Monitoring your heart rate is the only accurate to measure exercise intensity or exertion level and in order to reach your fitness goals, you need to exercise at the right intensity.

3. Increase Exercise Effectiveness

It is important to understand that workout effectiveness varies at different percentages of your heart rate. Having a heart rate monitor is liken to having a personal trainer next to you that helps vary your exercise levels and work towards your goal of achieving the fitness level you’ve always dreamed of. A heart rate monitor ensures that you are working out at the right intensity without straining yourself too much. It also helps vary the activity you are doing. For example, jogging only allows you to achieve a certain fixed percentage of your heart rate but you may never go more than that unless you were to sprint or add some skipping exercises in between. Having a heart rate monitor tells you what to do and when to do it.

Final Words

They may be many more reasons why you should use a heart rate monitor while running but these are the big three to bear in mind.

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