Heart rate monitoring can enhance workouts | CraigDailyPress.com

Heart rate monitoring can enhance workouts

Tera Johnson-Swartz works in a spin class Friday afternoon at the Old Town Hot Springs in Steamboat Springs. Instructor Jessica Speer encourages participants to keep tabs on their heart rates in order to get the most out of each workout.
John F. Russell

— If something is missing from your workout this January, the answer may be in your heart.

People who monitor their heart rate while exercising are able to better understand how hard they are pushing their bodies, according to Craig fitness instructor Evonne Driggs-Crum.

“Heart rate monitors are extremely important,” Driggs-Crum said. “It’s not just to boost your workout, it’s to be able to know what level you’re working out at and to be able to control what level you’re working out at, too.”

Driggs-Crum has been teaching cycling, pilates and a variety of fitness classes for Colorado Northwestern Community College and Trapper Fitness for nearly 20 years.

Using a heart rate monitor can help individuals understand what different heart rates feel like, what their resting heart rate is and how far they may be able to push themselves when exercising.

According to the American Heart Association, the first step to monitoring your heart rate is to figure out your own resting heart rate, which is the number of times your heart beats when at rest, such as when you first wake up in the morning.

According to the National Institute of Health, the average resting heart rate for children, adults and seniors falls somewhere between 60 and 100 beats per minute, though a well-trained athlete’s heart rate may be between 40 and 60 beats per minute.

The American Heart Association suggests people test their own heart rate by periodically measuring the pulse on their wrist.

The maximum heart rate a person should have is roughly calculated as 220 minus your age, in beats per minute — 200 for a 20-year-old or 180 for a 40-year-old.

Target heart rates during exercise are about 50 to 85 percent of the average maximum heart rate for each age — about 100 to 170 beats per minute for a 20-year-old or 90 to 153 beats per minute for a 40-year-old.

A table with target and maximum heart rate information based on age is available at the AHA’s website, http://www.heart.org.

The Yampa Valley Medical Center also has a target heart rate calculator as part of several wellness tools under the cardiology services page of its website at http://www.yvmc.org.

Driggs-Crum suggested that beginners start by building their aerobic base, which means training in the aerobic range for six to 12 weeks before adding more intense, anaerobic exercise to workouts.

“When you first start working out, 50 to 60 percent of your heart rate maximum is good,” she said. “You need to learn to control your heart rate and gradually build your aerobic base so you can get into that intensity.”

Driggs-Crum encourages people to use heart rate monitors in several of her classes and also offers personal training.

“I talk about heart rate in all my classes because its so important that people realize you shouldn’t just go until you can’t breathe,” she said. “It’s not just about intensity, it’s about monitoring the heart rate for different types of workout you can do.”

To reach Teresa Ristow, call 970-871-4206, email tristow@SteamboatToday.com or follow her on Twitter @TeresaRistow

Contact Lauren Blair at 970-875-1794 or lblair@CraigDailyPress.com.

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