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Advice from a Mechanical Engineer

A Great Tool for Getting in Shape

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I’ve written many posts about heart rate monitors being useful for getting in shape. And I continue to use one several times a week when weightlifting, walking or sprinting, but yet again I find myself wanting to explain just how good they are and how useful they can be to your motivation for exercising as well as increasing the quality of your actual exercise.

Quick story to illustrate a point:

I read a guide the other day on how to stop your iPhone battery draining fast. It was useful and includes 8 things to look for to increase your battery life. You know how you have that little picture of a battery at the top right to illustrate how much is left? And you can set it up so that you either just see the battery or you can also see the percentage left?

Yeah, well step 6 in the guide is to turn off battery percentage. And it makes sense. People that have percentage on often check their percentage level more often – thereby turning their phone on more and decreasing battery life. Well, I think a heart rate monitor has the same sort of effect on exercise and fitness. If you have the monitor (analogous to having the percentage turned on) you are more likely to know the intensity of your exercise and train smarter.

I’ll walk you through what I mean. First off, there are different types of heart rate monitors for different types of exercise. We’ll use the example of someone who runs or jogs. If you have a routine to job 3 times per week each time you cover 5km. Well it makes sense then that after a few months of doing this your time to run 5km will go down right? Of course. But if you continue to just run 5km in 30mins each time you’re not really doing anything for your fitness. Yeah, you’re burning calories but eventually your heart rate will not be elevated much because your body is efficient at doing this movement.

So how does a heart rate monitor help? With the heart rate numbers displayed on your watch you will know exactly how hard your body is working. So instead of just running 5k in 30 minutes your goal will be to stain within a certain heart rate zone. That’s really all there is to it. The same thing would be to increase your pace but HR is more accurate because wind speed, temperature how you’re feeling all effect you and pace is far too macro to be the gauge of choice.

Written by admin

April 10th, 2014 at 12:20 am

Posted in fitness