Heart Rate Monitors
Wouldn’t it be nice to know how effective your workouts are and how to get more out of them? With a heart rate monitor – a small device worn like wristwatches – you can learn if you can safely step up your program a notch or if you are working out too intensely to achieve the results you want. It’s all about working out smarter, not harder.
Cleveland Clinic advises that it is most beneficial and safest to exercise in your target heart rate, which is normally 60 to 80 percent of your maximum heart rate. In this zone, you are burning calories and strengthening your heart. Working out too hard moves your body from aerobic to anaerobic exercise which is less efficient.
Jazzercise Founder and CEO Judi Sheppard Missett recommends starting any exercise program slowly and only after consulting with your physician, and always pay close attention to how your body feels during any physical activity.
Find your maximum heart rate by subtracting your age from 220. Here’s how the numbers look for a 50-year-old:
220 – 50 = 170 maximum heart rate
Target heart rate = between 102 and 136 beats per minute (60-80 percent of your maximum heart rate of 170).
The American Heart Association tells us that if you can speak or sing easily while walking or exercising, you probably aren’t working too hard and can pick up the pace a bit.
Types of Heart Rate Monitors
Heart rate monitors range from basic models that will tell you what your heart rate is with the push of a button, to high tech instruments that provide continuous heart rate monitoring during your entire workout, display the number of calories burned and recall your heart rates from prior sessions. Others can even display altitude climbed while bicycling.
Simple models begin around $35 apiece. Polar offers a wide array of models helpful for beginners through competitive athletes, some of which come with software for planning fitness regimens.
Most monitors also come with chest straps that some people believe are more accurate and more convenient because you don’t have to stop exercising to find out your heart rate.
Do It Yourself
You can also find your heart rate on your own while exercising. Place a finger – not your thumb because it has its own pulse – on your carotid artery that runs vertically along both sides of your neck. Count the beats you feel for 10 seconds. Multiply this number by six to get your heart rate per minute.
Track your heart rate to make reaching your fitness goals a snap.
Judi Sheppard Missett, who turned her love of jazz dance into a worldwide dance exercise phenomenon, founded the Jazzercise dance fitness program in 1969. She has advanced the business opportunities of women and men in the fitness industry by growing the program into an international franchise business that today, hosts a network of 7,800 instructors teaching more than 32,000 classes weekly in 32 countries.
The workout program, which offers a fusion of jazz dance, resistance training, Pilates, yoga, cardio box and Latin style movements, has positively affected millions of people worldwide. Benefits include increased cardiovascular endurance, strength, and flexibility, as well as an overall "feel good" factor. Additional Jazzercise programs include Junior Jazzercise, Jazzercise Lite and Personal Touch. For more information on Jazzercise go to jazzercise.com or call (800)FIT-IS-IT or (760)476-1750.