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Is a heart rate monitor right for you?

2015_07_23_Heart Rate

In this day and age, getting older doesn’t mean what it used to given the many medical advancements and increased knowledge of how to take care of your body. Fading eyesight and weakening leg muscles can be augmented by therapy and walking canes, while you start a physical therapy program to get back to full strength.

Because of the many avenues available for physical activity – which the CDC notes as one of the most important aspects of maintaining great health well into your golden years – you can combat the natural decline in your maximum heart rate, for example. By using a heart rate monitor to gauge your resting heart rate, you’ll be able to see the difference that exercise makes and tailor your workouts accordingly.

Not Everyone Needs a Heart Rate Monitor

Simply put, a heart rate monitor is only necessary for older athletes to check their resting heart rate vs. their heart rate after aerobic exercise. The reason why it’s important is the big difference between moderate workouts and vigorous workouts. Moderate workouts are good for aerobic health and ease the movement of blood through your circulatory system. Vigorous exercise does this even better; additionally, it burns fat for a significantly healthier body.

For younger athletes – as well as competitive athletes of almost any age – heart rate monitors aren’t necessary on a daily basis. However, much like walking canes, even if you don’t use it every day, it may be good to have access to one just in case. This is because as you age, your heart rate declines by a handful of beats every ten years. The monitor can serve as a legitimate measuring device for your current state and the progress you make as you continue your workout schedule. It allows you to correlate the effect your workouts are having on your heart:

  • As you jog, swim or lift weights, if you measure your heart rate to be between 60 and 75 percent of your max, then you’re right at the beginning of the fat-burning zone. This should be your targeted minimum.
  • If, during vigorous exercise, you measure your heart rate to be between 75 and 85 percent of your maximum heart rate, then you’re in the lofty aerobic zone, which is considered high intensity and really burns the fat.

As with any workout plan, you should consult your physician before starting. Aerobic exercise is simply one of the keys to (healthy) longevity. For many, getting up and walking is enough to get the exercise you need. If stability is a concern for you, remember that not all walking canes are created equally. Pick the cane you need to meet your needs so you can walk with confidence. 

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