Benefits of Training With Heart Rate Control

Would you like to get the most out of your workouts?  If so, you need to engage in exercise that is vigorous enough to raise your heart rate for a minimum of 20 minutes per session.  But, how can you be certain that your heart rate has reached the desired level?  How can you be certain that you maintain the proper intensity level throughout your workout?  Perhaps it’s time to consider the benefits of training with heart rate control!

How Does Heart Rate Control Work?

Heart rate control features can be found on a number of treadmill and elliptical trainer models.  Unlike heart rate monitors, which merely read your heart rate when you make contact with sensors that are built into the fitness equipment, the heart rate control feature actually controls the intensity of your workouts.

Based upon monitored heart rate readings, a heart rate control automatically adjusts the level of intensity during exercise to ensure that you are always working at the desired intensity level. 

Heart rate control may be of the handgrip variety or wireless heart rate control.  Handgrip heart rate control requires that you constantly hold onto handlebars with built-in sensors.  This can be rather awkward when walking, jogging, or pedaling.  Wireless heart rate control, on the other hand, allows you the freedom to exercise without having to hold onto the handlebars.  With wireless heart rate control, you simply attach a strap around your chest that will monitor your heart rate and feed the readings to the console.  In turn, the computer in the console will automatically adjust the exertion level of your workout accordingly to keep you working within a predetermined heart rate level.

The Benefits of Heart Rate Control

The greatest benefit of training with heart rate control is being able to set the desired heart rate zone for your fitness goals and level of fitness, then let the heart rate control do the rest.  You don’t have to constantly monitor your heart rate to be sure that you’re working in the zone that is best suited for you.  The heart rate control will monitor your heart rate for you and adjust the intensity of your workout to keep you working in your preferred zone.

Once you have determined your personal maximum heart rate, your level of fitness may be improved by working out in a variety of heart rate zones.  By alternating zones during your exercises sessions, the heart is challenged to grow stronger and work more efficiently, improving your cardiovascular health.

Heart Rate Zones

Author Sally Edwards discusses five heart rate zones in her work, The Heart Rate Monitor Guidebook.  

  1. Healthy Heart Zone - For those of you who are just beginning an exercise program, you should aim to reach 50% to 60% of your maximum heart rate.  This is a safe zone for beginners and can be achieved by engaging in an easy-paced walk.  Working out in the healthy heart zone can lead to weight loss, as well as lower cholesterol and blood pressure levels.
  2. The Temperate Zone – This zone is 60% to 70% of your maximum heart rate and is achieved by working at a faster pace (such as power walking or jogging) than in the healthy heart zone.  This zone is more intense and burns more calories but, otherwise, produces the same benefits as the healthy heart zone.
  3. The Aerobic Zone – In this zone, you attain 70% to 80% of your maximum heart rate.  Regularly exercising in this zone will strengthen your cardiovascular and respiratory systems.  A steady jog will get you into the aerobic zone.
  4. Anaerobic Zone – This is a high-intensity zone in which you will reach 80% to 90% of your personal maximum heart rate.  You can attain this zone by engaging in a hard run.
  5. The Redline Zone – To reach this zone (90% to 100% of your maximum heart rate), you must give it all you’ve got during your workout.  It isn’t really feasible to try to maintain this zone for very long, although it is often achieved during interval training.  (Caution should always be used when working out in the redline zone, as working at this intensity for an extended period may lead to injuries.

Note: Before beginning any exercise program, be sure to consult your medical professional.

Written by Cyndi Waters
Fitness Researcher and Writer 

Smooth Fitness | Treadmills & Ellipticals

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