5 Reasons Why You Should Get A Heart Rate Monitor
Before you join the big crowd of fitness junkies who would just about do anything to get their fitness levels up, consider a few reasons why you should get a heart rate monitor. Don’t join the crowd before you know what you are getting yourself into. It is nice to have a fancy new fitness toy but let me give you some advice. The most fit athletes don’t necessary need the best equipment to get them to Olympic level competitiveness. It is more in the state of mind i.e hard work, dedication, consistency and in some cases strategy.
Alright, now let us look at the reasons:
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 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.
4. Monitor Your Training
It doesn’t matter if you are a competitive or a beginner runner. Getting a heart rate monitor helps monitor your heart rate and gives you an idea what kind of training intensity you should undertake. A competitive runner might train everyday but there is always a fine balance between overtraining and optimal training. Using a heart rate monitor helps maximize training effectiveness and avoid unnecessary injuries or stress on your body. Use the heart rate monitor as a measure of your workouts and take breaks when necessary. If you are undertraining, the device will tell you that you can work much harder than you think and tell you to pick up the pace. The beauty of this device is that it helps keep you within your optimal heart zones to ensure that your build endurance with each training.
5. Use it During Your Races
Many runners run too fast and exhaust their energy too early during a race. As a runner you need to think of finishing the race as best as you can so you need to make good use of your energy levels and your endurance throughout the race. Some heart monitors come with GPS built in. Having a GPS enabled heart monitor allows you to measure the distance and time to reach the finishing line. This is a great way to pace yourself based on the distance instead of your heart rate.
There are many factors that can influence the way you run a race. The weather, crowd cheering, wind conditions, hydration status, fitness levels are all variable that can greatly influence the way you run. A heart rate monitor is impervious to these conditions and gives you an accurate reading regardless of the change in environment. Within a racing context, a monitor is perhaps most useful in preventing you from going out too fast or working too hard early in the race.