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Whether you want to lose weight, lower cholesterol, burn body fat, train for competition, or just stay healthy, a  heart rate monitor allows you to exercise at the precise heart rate to achieve your personal goals.

Heart rate monitors are ECG (100%) accurate. Without a  heart rate monitor, taking your pulse requires stopping your exercise momentarily and reading your pulse for 6 to 15 seconds. Studies show that manual pulse taking has an average error of 17 beats per minute. Most people were exercising harder than they thought. Over exertion puts you at a higher risk and can discourage you from continuing your exercise program.   Also you must stop your routine while you wait at least 15 seconds to take your pulse. With a Heart Monitor you get continuous feedback about your workout.

Every individual has a specific heart rate training zone for weight loss, lowering cholesterol or blood pressure, getting in peak condition etc. A  heart rate monitor lets you exercise in the optimum heart rate zones to achieve your personal goals. Best results are achieved by training in a combination of training zones every exercise session.

Exercise at the correct intensity.

Heart Rate Monitors provide state of the art technology for monitoring the intensity at which you exercise. Controlling exercise intensity within your own capability is the key to working out in just the right way to meet your fitness goal.

So you don't suffer the effects of over training while making sure you are not training too easily.  In either case, your training program will improve with a Heart Rate Monitor. 

Benefit from the F.I.T Approach

There are two basic variables that determine individual training intensity:-

When these two factors are established, setting up your exercise program is just a matter of establishing the required frequency, intensity and time - F.I.T. for short.    The best training programs combine a variety of training intensity and duration allowing the whole body to adapt.  The chart below shows the different training zones and the corresponding heart rates associated with them.

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You and your maximum heart rate  (click for more info)

This is the highest number of times that your heart is capable of contracting in one minute, and tends to decrease with age. There are two ways to determine your maximum heart rate:-

The first is through a fitness assessment with a qualified exercise physiologist or cardiologist, and is the preferred method if you are over the age of 35. If you are overweight or have a family history of heart disease it is essential that you consult a cardiologist.

The second method is by formula. Sedentary individuals are advised to use 220 - age to determine approximate maximum heart rate. If you exercise aerobically 3 or more times a week, use 205 minus half your age.
Try out target zone calculator

I determine my max heart rate by doing a good warm up.  I  run or bike for about 4 minutes at 90% effort and then follow that effort with 1 minute of a sprint to the finish line preferable up hill.  It is important to realize that your maximum heart rate will vary depending on the sport.

Resting Heart Rate

Ideally monitor this immediately after waking and before you get out of bed. By taking it for several days at the same time, you will soon determine your normal resting heart rate. If after monitoring it for a few weeks your heart rate goes down, you are becoming fitter. If it stays the same, you are maintaining your existing level. If your resting heart rate goes up, it may mean that you are either over training or possibly getting ill and you are advised to consult your doctor.