Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Heart Rate Monitoring

Taking it from the last week’s discussion about heart rate monitoring, it is quite obvious that heart rate monitoring is an essential part of an exercising routine.

The Cardio vascular system is a major consideration in case of cardio activities like walking, jogging, aerobic classes etc. This is because, most cardio activities are full-body activities, especially using the large muscle groups like legs, and also continues for longer time as compared to weight training activities.

The heart rate before starting the exercise activity is called as the Starting heart rate and that during the exercise is called as the Exercising or Target heart rate (THR). The heart rate at rest, especially measured just after waking up in the morning (consistently done for 3-4 days and then averaged) is called the Resting Heart rate (RHR). Well conditioned athletes have quite low RHRs, which means that the load on the heart to pump blood, is lesser and thereby the wear and tear is lesser!
Lance Armstrong has been found to have an RHR of about 32-34 bpm, where as in general, an average human being has a heart rate of around 60 – 72 bpm!!

Heart rate is usually measured in bpm (beats per minute) and is manually measured across the radial artery on the inside of the wrist or the Carotid artery near the Adam’s Temple across the neck. The measurement is done using the index and middle finger held together and placed lightly over the artery just enough to feel the pulse.
The monitors are usually placed on the Brachial artery on the upper arm or across the chest directly.
While exercising, incase of manually measuring the heart rate, it is wiser to measure it across the wrist, because this means that the exercise can continue while measuring (which is essential, otherwise the heart rate will drop down and result in inaccurate reading).

However, the another important parameter is the Maximum heart rate (MHR) which is the usually measured by the formula – MHR = 220 – Chronological Age
This is the generally used formula and proves sufficient to determine the zones, despite claims of inaccuracy.

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