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Heart Rate Guidelines and RPE - Is it Real Progress Evaluation?

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The latest technology heart rate monitors can record your capacity to exercise, breathing rate, heart rate and other scientific information that assists your exercise routine. These monitors are being broadcast on television when the marathons are shown and everybody can see the intensity of the athlete's effort, but it is not always reflective when looking at the poor person struggling up a hill, looking worse for wear and their rate is lower than expected and indicates that they can push harder.

Heart rate monitors are very popular among athletes and rehab patients who want to control their heart activity during exercise. Over training without adequate rest will lead to higher heart rate readings and it is the body's signal to rest. If this is picked up quickly, a day or two off from vigorous exercise will rectify the extreme readings. If it is an ongoing problem and the athlete can feel signs of burn out such as disrupted sleep and eating patterns and lethargy, they should consult a doctor. If there are warning signs of illness or exhaustion, give the body rest days to recover completely before resuming exercise.

Maximum heart rate is roughly calculated by subtracting your age from either 226 (female) or 220 (male) and determining training zones as a percentage from that point. Working at different rate zones will yield varying results.

Rate of Perceived Exhaustion (RPE) was developed to determine how the athlete feels during various stages of exercise and this should be used in conjunction with heart-rate monitoring. As you get to know the limits of your body, estimating heart rate becomes easier and the simple number from 1 to 10 becomes very similar to the heart rate reading. The other way to estimate exercise intensity is to try the Talk Test where you can still complete a full sentence while exercising at a high intensity. By learning how to estimate exercise intensity, you will be able to complete more effective workouts without over training or training ineffectively.

Take these readings (whether from a heart rate monitor or taking your pulse at your neck or wrist using two index fingers for a 15 seconds and multiply by 4 to get the number of beats per minute before, during and after exercise to check your progress and you will get to know your limitations and capabilities. Feel like a real athlete by monitoring your progress at all stages.

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