Use a Heart Rate Monitor & Maximize Your Workout Time

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Little equipment is needed for great results with most home exercise programs. A top-quality at-home fitness system like P90X, for instance, requires no equipment beyond a DVD and viewing devices in order to be effective.

A few extras, however, can make any program more challenging and more comfortable. Inexpensive resistance bands and a P90X pull-up bar can really ramp up the P90X challenge. Protein and vitamin supplements are also good additions to a tough exercise regimen. They can help your body recover from each workout and build strong muscles in the process. Using a yoga mat is a good idea, too. It will make you more comfortable during floor work and more stable during plyometrics.

What is your target heart rate?

Another handy workout tool is a sport heart rate monitor. It can monitor your resting pulse as well as track your heart rate during exercise. In this way, you can determine your level of exertion. For workouts that are most effective, aim for your target heart rate.

Your target heart rate is actually a range. Usually it’s 50 percent to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate. Staying within this target zone when you exercise means you’re working effectively without overexerting yourself. Are you hitting your target zone? If not, work harder! Make the most of every minute of your workout time. Is your pulse rate too high? Then slow down. You want to improve your physical health, not hurt yourself.

How can you determine your target zone?

To determine your target heart rate, go to the Mayo Clinic’s target heart rate calculator.  Once you’ve calculated your target zone, try a sport heart rate monitor like the Bowflex model available through Extremely-Fit.  It’s a great way to track your level of exertion—without stopping your workout.

Manually figuring out your heart rate during a workout can be awkward. First, you have to stop. Then you have to find your pulse and try to count the number of beats. With a sport heart rate monitor, however, there’s no need to interrupt your exercise. And that makes your calculations more accurate, too, because as soon as you stop moving, your heart rate begins to slow.

The best quality sport heart rate monitor has a large display with a lighted background so it’s easy to read. Bowflex’s heart rate monitor has these qualities as well as a sleek design—and it comes in styles for men and women. Add it to your workout routine, and see just how effective it can be in helping you have a productive workout every time.

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