Undoubtedly, you’ve heard the concept ‘Heart Rate’ at the very least being thrown around alongside fitness and health tracking. But do you know what it is and do you currently track it? Here’s why you may want to hop on the HR bandwagon! Some definitions first…
Resting Heart Rate:
The number of times your heart beats per min when you are at rest (The resting HR for healthy adults is 60-100/bpm. An elite athlete or very active person can have a resting HR as low as 40/bmp. When it comes to resting HR, generally the lower the better).
Target Heart Rate:
This refers to the zones (percentages of your maximum heart rate) you aim to get your heart rate at during exercise/movement (To calculate your maximum target HR: Subtract your age from 220; Ex. if you’re 40yrs old, your maximum target HR would be 220-40, which is 180/bpm)
How can I monitor my HR?
- Take your pulse on the inside of your wrist, on the thumb side
- Use the tips of your pointing and middle fingers, and press lightly over where it beats the strongest
- Count your pulse for 30sec and multiple it by 2.
What is it telling you??
- If your HR is too high, simply slow down! If your HR is too low and the intensity of your workout goes from “moderate” to “light.” Time to push yourself a little more. When you’re just starting a new exercise, starting with a 50% maximum is good, then increasing it to 80% over time.
- When your HR is in the zone of 50-60% of your target HR, you are in the low-intensity exercise zone. While in this zone, 85% of calories you burn are fat. But you’re not burning as many calories as you are in more intense exercise.
- When your HR is in the zone of 60-70% of your target HR, you are in the moderate-intensity exercise zone, also known as the temperate zone. While in this zone, about 65% of the calories you burn are fat.
- When your HR is in the zone of 70-80% of your target HR, you’re in the high-intensity zone, also known as the aerobic zone. In this zone, you are burning a lot more calories than low-intensity zone, but only 45% of the calories you burn are from fat.
So why are you burning less fat while your exercises are more intense? Once HR increases, you are getting less oxygen than resting. Therefore, your body is unable to oxidize fat fast enough. Instead, your body needs to find other resources that can be oxidized fasters, like glycogen, also known as carbohydrates.
Our suggestion? Switch it up! Try multiple different kinds of movements and track your heart rate during them so you know what your body registers as low, moderate, or high-intensity!