It’s not uncommon to see gym equipment outfitted with high-tech heart rate monitors. What exactly does heart rate control do? Do we really need it? Well first, let’s distinguish between some different terms here. A “heart rate monitor” is simply a tracker that reports your heart rate to you in real time through the use of sensors. A machine equipped with “heart rate control,” on the other hand, will actually adjust the settings on the machine (such as speed and incline) based on how your heart rate fluctuates as you exercise.
Using a treadmill or elliptical with heart rate control is ideal because it turns your workout into a responsive experience. It is important that you stay in an optimal heart rate zone as you exercise because going too easy on yourself won’t produce any significant results, but pushing yourself too hard can be counterproductive. When you hook yourself up to a machine with this technology you are essentially turning the equipment into a virtual trainer that can assess your exact condition and adjust its demands on you accordingly. Pretty cool!
Determining Your Ideal Heart Rate
There are five zones in which you may find yourself during exercise. These include the Healthy Heart Zone, which is 50-60% of your maximum heart rate and can easily be achieved by walking; the Temperate Zone, which is 60-70% of your maximum heart rate; the Aerobic Zone, which is 70-80% of your maximum heart rate and can be achieved by a steady jog; the Anaerobic Threshold Zone, which is 80-90% of your maximum heart rate; and the Redline Zone, which is 90-100% of your maximum heart rate and is the equivalent of running full speed ahead (often used in interval training).
You can easily calculate your target heart rate by first determining how fast your heart will pound when you push it to its limit. 5k’s or 2-mile stretches are great for this – run the whole distance as quickly as you can, trying to keep an even pace throughout. The maximum heart rate you achieve during that time is a good estimate of your max heart rate. You can then calculate your resting heart rate by taking your pulse every day for a week as soon as you wake up (before you get out of bed). Next, find your “heart rate reserve” by subtracting your RHR from your MHR. You can then multiply your heart rate reserve by the percent exertion of each zone and then add back your RHR to determine what your goal heart rate should be for each type of workout you do. It’s a little complicated, but it works!
Determining Your Ideal HRC Treadmill
There are two main types of HRC treadmill types – handgrip and wireless. Handgrips require you to hold onto bars on the side of the machine as you move, which can be awkward and is less than ideal for jogging. Wireless control machines come with a strap that you can fasten around your chest, allowing you to move more freely.
For the ultimate in HRC treadmill training, we’re partial to TRUE treadmills, which feature the most advanced HRC technology in the industry. The TRUE PS300 Treadmill and the TRUE PS800 Treadmill both incorporate HRC cruise control and wireless heart rate monitoring using Polar technology. They’ll adjust your speed and incline automatically to make sure you meet your fitness goals and make steady progress every day.
See them both—along with other top-rated treadmills for better cardio training—at Gym Source today.