Heart, strength and endurance: how to use a heart rate monitor
To function properly, your muscles need two basic elements: oxygen and energy. During and after training, the muscles must eliminate the toxins produced by their movement. The heart takes care of it, pumping the blood faster through the body to remove the lactic acid – the “indicator” of muscle fatigue – accumulated during training, metabolizing it to produce additional body energy.
The reasons why we like to work out are quite simple: sometimes we do it to stay in shape and take down a few extra pounds, sometimes just to do a little extra movement. However, we should never forget to keep our hearts trained as well, all the more so when we do high-intensity training and aim to improve our sports performance as well as our silhouette.
The heart, like all other muscles, also needs to get stronger, and any good training must necessarily allow it to work optimally. In this regard, it is generally recommended that you keep your heart rates low – between 80 and 120 beats per minute on average – and high – over 160 beats per minute. In this way, the heart will become more effective not only during sports activities, but also at rest.
How do you know if we are training our heart properly? Unless you have a body perception like a Shaolin monk, the answer is simple: with a heart rate monitor.
The ideal time to start using a heart rate monitor? You could start during one of our Skillathletic sessions. In a Skillathletic class, after connecting to the class, you will be able to view your heart rate icon on the study screen, monitored in real time, and graphically displayed in different colours to represent the increase or decrease in heart rate during training.
At the end of the workout, you will have a history of your session, with average, minimum and maximum beats achieved during the class. Having a heart rate monitor connected to the app is essential to live the full Skillathletic training experience, as well as to collect badges on the app.
5 reasons to wear a heart rate monitor
Using a heart rate monitor is very simple. It usually consists of a chest, arm or wrist strap and a sensor. The strap should be worn directly in contact with the skin. It is good practice to moisten the electrodes to facilitate reading and detection. Tightened to the right point, the heart rate monitor will send the data to the tool you are using, which in turn is equipped with a special transmitter. The display in front of you will allow you to keep an eye on them at all times in a clear and intuitive way.
1. It improves your health by monitoring it in real time
A heart rate monitor allows you to discover and maintain the correct intensity of exercise necessary for your goal. A concrete example: you are training in Boost and you want to keep your heart rate constant and in a moderate way, using your heart at 50-70% of its maximum peak. How do I find out? With an arm or wrist heart rate monitor, you will be able to find out.
A high-end heart rate monitor, especially if connected to dedicated apps such as mywellness or the Skillathletic app, can also provide useful data to make it easier to manage the effort in relation to parameters related to the goal you are pursuing, or to track a biometric trend of your training over time.
Unfortunately, however, a heart rate monitor will not tell you which activities to choose, how to do them or how to balance them by combining them with an adequate diet and sleep. An infallible method to understand how to define your goals and determine the cardiac stimulus to a given exercise is to jump into the fray and experiment with different workout classes, routines and exercises. With the ever-changing Skillathletic training format, all you have to do is to book a class and leave the tracking data to the connected heart rate monitor.
2. It accurately records your biometric data
In addition to tracking electrocardiograms (ECGs) of almost medical quality, a mid-high range heart rate monitor measures other vital biometric data as well. Skin temperature, heart rate and its variation, as well as respiratory rate are but some of the data collected.
Accurately measuring your heart rate under stress is the best way to determine what benefits your workout generates. Obviously, you will have to be careful to wear the strap correctly and use the device frequently and exactly as indicated in the user manual, to have an increasingly effective and accurate database.
3. It helps you train properly
As already mentioned, the feedback provided by the heart rate monitor can assist your session, preventing you from overtraining and consequent physical damage in the following days. A faster than normal heart rate before, during or after your workout may indicate that your body needs a break.
Nonetheless, do not rely solely and exclusively on the heart rate monitor: listen to your body and always seek advice from qualified personnel to get an optimal picture of the situation.
4. It keeps track of your progress
As already mentioned, a heart rate monitor, when combined with specific training apps, is able to record, store, classify and show months of training, helping you to identify possible errors during the workout or simply to emphasize that you are on the right track.
5. It feeds into your training commitment
Until a few years ago, many of you would never have thought to receive orders from a computer. Nevertheless, let’s face it: reading through clear and unambiguous data that you didn’t complete your last training properly or that we didn’t reach a goal because the night before we had come back home a little too late is a further incentive to do more and better.
If you prefer the voice of your instructor, add a digital reminder to these. So you can feel doubly “guilty”.
So, will you use a heart rate monitor now?
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