Heart rate monitoring can enhance workouts | SteamboatToday.com

Heart rate monitoring can enhance workouts

Teresa Ristow

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.

— 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, which can lead to getting more aggressive in their regimens, said Marietta Roberts, fitness director at the Old Town Hot Springs in Steamboat Springs.

"If you want to push yourself a little more, get a heart rate monitor and then work with that," said Roberts, who administers 45-minute heart rate tests at Old Town Hot Springs by appointment, a service that costs $10 for members. "It's very important to monitor your heart rate."

Heart rate tests will 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.

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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.

Roberts said that sometimes people aren't seeing the results they want from workouts until they realize they can push themselves even further by closely monitoring their heart rate.

"If you've hit a plateau, maybe that's why," she said.

Those wanting to monitor their heart rate in an organized class can try the Old Town Hot Springs' Heart Rate Spin classes, available during regularly scheduled spin classes at the facility.

For more information about heart rate monitoring and heart rate classes at Old Town Hot Springs, contact Roberts at 970-879-1828, extension 314.

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