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Heart rate training: gimmicky gadget or meaningful exercise aid?


Access to workout stats is something that only the most elite athletes would have had in the past but it’s now easy to keep track of factors such as steps taken, calories burned, hours slept and even your heart rate.

The rise of fitness apps and smartwatches has meant that you don’t need to be a hard-core athlete to take an interest in your health. According to the research, using information from a fitness tracker or a belt can make a real difference. Belt data is generally accepted as being more accurate because it’s strapped right next to your heart, but wrist devices can also be useful, even if they aren’t quite as precise.

But in a market that’s flooded with gadgets and gizmos, what are the must-haves that provide meaningful information and what should be pushed aside like a sweaty gym kit? Here’s a closer look at what really works.

Keeping track of your fitness

No matter how hard you train, it’s important to measure whether the exercise is having the desired effect. One way to measure how fit you’re becoming is to take a look at your heart rate.

Resting heart rate:

What the experts say: Checking your resting heart rate over a period of time is a great way to see if you’re heading in the right direction. The average heart at rest beats between 69-90 times a minute. Healthy and well-conditioned hearts tend to be at the lower end of this bracket as they’re more efficient in pumping the blood where it’s needed.

What you should know: If your resting heart rate starts to drop it may be a sign that your fitness is improving.

Stay on track: Take your heart rate before you get out of bed in the morning for the most accurate reading. You could also check your sleep data if you’ve worn a device overnight.

Rate of recovery:

What the experts say: Your heart rate will increase during exercise as your muscles need more oxygen, forcing your heart to work harder. How quickly you recover is just as important as how hard you’re able to work when measuring fitness.

What you should know: The more quickly your heart rate returns to normal after exercising, the fitter you are. Tracking any changes in your rate of recovery will show you whether your fitness is improving.

Stay on track: Look to see whether your heart rate drops more than 10-12 beats in a minute. An improvement in the rate of recovery may take a while to see, but as your body adjusts to a new exercise programme you should start to see significant improvements.

Knowing how hard to exercise

Getting fit isn’t just about working out as hard as possible for the longest time you can endure. Use your fitness devices to plan an appropriate programme. Not everyone realises that if you work out too hard, you won’t necessarily get the result you want.

Heart rate zones:

What the experts say: There are different zones for you to work in and it’s important to achieve the right one to get the right results.

What you should know: Work out your estimated maximum heart rate (typically 220-age) and then you can calculate light, moderate and heavy exercise loads. The heart rate is an objective and factual way to work out how hard you’re exercising and is the best measure to use.

Work at 60-70% of your maximum heart rate for longer workouts that won’t cause too much stress but push it up to 70-80% and you’ll start to see an aerobic impact. This allows you to push your cardiovascular system and start to improve your levels of fitness. Working at 80-90% will start to feel a bit harder with anaerobic work exerting its influence on your body. 90-100% is the top rate of exercise which you’ll only be able to sustain for around a minute at a time.

Stay on track: Use all heart rate zones within your weekly programme for a balanced workout. Interval training in the top two zones will leave you burning more fat for 12 hours post-workout!

Calorie burn:

What the experts say: Knowing how many calories you are burning can be a great way to motivate yourself to keep exercising.

What you should know: The calories burned stat is just a general estimation and won’t be accurate for you as an individual, even if you supply your weight and age.

Stay on track: It is possible to get more accurate calorie burning information with a proper body stat check. You can get a TANITA reading done at your Village Gym and includes inputting details about your hydration levels, metabolic age and lean tissue percentage. its 99.9% accurate and medical grade kit


Get started today!

If you want to start using a heart rate-based system which is innovative, and uses the latest wire and cloud technology, talk to us at Village Gym about purchasing a MYZONE® belt today.

Measuring heart rate, length of workout and calories burnt, it converts every session into MYZONE® Effort Points (MEPs). This means effort not fitness is rewarded, making it a system that works for both beginners and advanced users alike. There’s also an app which allows any training sessions outside the club to be easily uploaded too.

Join us at Village Gym and kick start your fitness today!


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