This week’s FitLabPGH Podcast release is a video podcast to help you meet your health goals for 2021 and beyond. We have included the audio only link, but encourage you to check out the video.
If one of your goals is to improve (or monitor) your fitness level, consider adding a Heart Rate Monitor to your movement routine. Tracking distance and pace of your movement sessions may not paint a complete picture…to gauge exercise intensity over a variety of routes and forms of exercise, a Heart Rate Monitor is an excellent tool.
It’s January, so your social media feed is full of people telling you how to “CRUSH” your workouts…but if overall health / longevity is your goal, those intense workouts should be a small part of your overall movement routine. A heart rate monitor can tell you when you’re working “hard enough,” but it can also tell you when you should focus on recovery. A morning check of your resting heart rate may help you monitor your body’s readiness…when your resting hear rate is elevated, consider rest or active recovery. For most people looking for overall fitness, the bulk of our movement time should be spent in Heart Rate Zones 1 or 2 (not “crushing” it).
NOTE: BEFORE you begin a new training program, consult a qualified professional.
There are many options for Heart Rate Monitors. Perhaps the “easiest” way to start monitoring your heart rate is with a GPS fitness watch (that you may already own). Ben and Lisa both wear COROS watches; popular brands include Garmin, Polar, and Suunto. While the watches offer a convenient way to track heart rate, they aren’t always accurate…especially if your activity includes a lot of wrist movement or gripping.
The MOST accurate way to measure heart rate (outside of a clinical setting) is with a chest strap like the Polar H10 or the chest strap from Wahoo, shown in the video. The downside of the chest strap? Not everyone enjoys lifting up his/her shirt and affixing a damp chest strap at the start of a workout (the monitor should be damp to increase conductivity and improve accuracy)…especially if it’s winter…and you’re exercising outside…
A great option that offers accuracy AND convenience? The mioPOD; it’s worn on the arm and is easy to set-up and use (see www.mio-labs.com for more info). Ben loves his MioPod, for its battery life, convenient charging port, and ability to pair with his COROS watch and Strava. Another fun feature of the MioPod? If you use the Mio App, you can program the strap to display colors corresponding to each heart rate zone, so that you can easily monitor your heart rate during your movement session.
For more information on Heart Rate Monitors and Heart Rate Training, look for a pair of recent interviews from our sister podcast Moving2Live featuring Don Moxley, Applied Sports Scientist (released 12/16/20), and Marcelo Aller, CSCS, of Mio Labs (released 1/6/21).
Take home message: long-term health has more to do with consistent movement than with “crushing” this week’s workouts…but whatever your fitness goals, a heart rate monitor may help you measure your progress