On this Valentines Day I decided to focus on one of the most important things we have ... the heart. On this day dedicated to love, some of us may be dealing with a broken heart, while others are dealing with a heart that is full and filled with affection. But no matter where your heart stands at this moment in time, making sure your heart is healthy and body is strong, is the best prescription to overcome a heavy heart or maintain one that is brimming with tenderness and love.
I read a really good post at FitBottomGirls that gives you 6 Healthy Heart Tips from Celebrity Trainer Jennifer Cohen that I would like to share:
1. Your total fitness score can be measured by your heart rate. The length of time you can stay in your “sweet spot” and work out at the right level is a better indicator of fitness than overall time or calories burned. Not sure what your sweet spot is?
2. Track progress objectively, not comparatively. Daily performance can change due to stress, illness and everything else life throws at you. Some days are easier than others, and heart rate is the only true way to monitor intensity and know if you’re getting better. I love wearing a heart-rate monitor to do just that!
3. Stay motivated by watching your numbers improve. According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, tracking your progress is a critical part of successful weight-loss plans and fitness goals. So keep tabs on your workouts with a journal, fitness website or heart-rate monitor.
4. Count progress anytime, anywhere. When you have a heart-rate monitor, it’s like having a personal trainer on your wrist, so you can make sure your workouts count when you change a routine. When you challenge yourself to new exercise, you can know right away if it’s helping you work toward your goals.
5. Partner up for better results and greater motivation. Even if you’re at different fitness levels, you and your Valentine can benefit from working out together when working at your personal optimal intensity by walking or jogging on separate treadmills that are next to each other.
6. Heart health is about more than saying “I love you.” Couples: keep date night fresh. Instead of dinner and a movie, get moving with a bike ride or a walk in the park. Even cardio can be romantic when you’re in love!
Taking the above suggestions to heart, I also would like to share another article at FitBottomGirls that stress the benefits of a heart rate monitor and the appropriate heart rate zones to know for when you are exercising. In this way, you can make sure to get the MOST out of your exercise routine:
Benefits of a Heart Rate Monitor
1. Measures intensity of workouts. Time to rest? If you feel like you are working as hard as you can, but your heart rate won’t rise to the prescribed zones, you may need to stop and recover. Time to push? Using a heart rate monitor will tell you if you are working hard enough to achieve the desired zone.
2. Measures total calories burned during workout. Knowing how much time and energy it takes to burn off calories may make you think twice when ordering your daily café latte. This knowledge may also stir up those competitive juices and keep you from resting too long between exercises or chatting with your friends in order to match or burn more calories than your previous workout.
3. Circuit-training feedback. Keeping your heart rate elevated between exercises will increase total calories burned during your workout because the monitor will let you know when it is time to elevate your heart rate again after a strength exercise.
Heart-Rate Zones to Know
Knowing your heart-rate training zones and monitoring your heart rate will make your cardio workouts more effective. Just as your strength training should vary from muscle endurance to power workouts, so should your cardio workouts. To improve all aspects of cardiovascular health, you need to work out in all zones. The benefits range from lowering blood pressure and cholesterol to losing weight and improving your endurance. Working out at different heart rate zones will develop varying aspects of your cardiovascular fitness. These zones are usually based on percentages of your maximum heart rate, which can be determined by testing orcalculated through various formulas.
1. Fat Burning or Recovery Zone — 60 to 70 percent. Training within this zone develops basic endurance, aerobic capacity and helps recovery. The Fat Burning or Recovery Zone is the foundation on which all other cardiovascular performance is based. Build a solid foundation and everything on top of that will be even stronger!
2. The Aerobic Zone — 70 to 80 percent. Training in this zone will improve your cardiovascular system and aerobic fitness. Working out in this zone will also increase your ability to work out longer and at a higher intensity, as well as burn more calories and fat!
3. The Anaerobic Zone — 80 to 90 percent. Training in this zone will improve your maximum performance ability by making your lactic acid system more efficient. This will delay the onset of fatigue at higher intensity work loads. This zone will also lead toward increased caloric expenditure and fat-burning for hours after you’re done with your workout!
4. Maximum Effort Zone — 90 to 100 percent. Training in this zone is only meant for the very fit and experienced. This zone will develop your speed and ability to perform maximal efforts.
You can measure what your target heart rate should be with a heart rate calculator, such as the one that can be found at the Mayo Clinic. My target heart rate is 135-164 beats per minute!
Here are some heart rate monitors that vary in price range grow lowest to highest:
1.) Garmin Premium Heart Rate Monitor, 2.) Polar WearLink Heart Rate Transmitter with Bluetooth, 3.) Adidas miCoach Pace Bundle Q00145, 4.) Polar Electronics 90033473 Ft60 Heart Rate Monitor
I leave you with a Valentine's Day workout mix that includes all songs with the word "love" inspired by Jennipher Walters on Spotify, with some of my own selections added into it: