With the Winter months drawing nearer, many of us are concluding our outdoor training with the 5k and 10k season drawing to a close. That said, a visit to any town or a trip on any road will show up many exercisers still training, still out jogging or walking.
As a Physical and Sports therapist, I find that for those who are looking at their peers and thinking of hitting the roads before the season ends, and indeed for those well into their training with half-marathons on the horizon, there are a number of frequently asked questions. How fast should I walk? Should I be able to keep up with the seasoned walker/jogger when I’m only starting? Walking and jogging are both mostly aerobic exercises. While we should be able to carry out a conversation while exercising initially – maybe in the first 10 mins – breathlessness will seep in as a result of the energy system change over.
Defining Aerobic Exercise and the importance of Heart Rate Monitoring
Aerobic exercise addresses the cardio-vascular system and is the primary health-related component of physical fitness. When we were born our heart-rate was at its optimal beats, said to be 220 Beats Per Minute (BPM). It’s estimated that our heart-rate will lose a beat for every year of our lives. By taking your age from that 220, you will end up with your maximum heart-rate and exercising to our heart-rate is somewhat similar to the function of a speedometer in a car. We have safe speeds to our driving just as we have safe speeds that we exercise to. For aerobic exercise we should train to 60>% of our maximum heart-rate. Calculate you max heart-rate and then work out 60>% of it – this will give you your training heart-rate (THR).
Understanding the value of a Heart-rate Monitor
A heart-rate monitor can seriously help in measuring one of the crucial values of your training by giving you the information to allow you to maintain you training heart-rate. If, for instance, your training heart-rate is 120 BPM, the watch LCD will gauge your current heart-rate allowing you to increase or decrease your intensity to suit. As you get fitter you will find that your speed will increase but your heart-rate will remain at your THR, thus, giving you a method by which to measure your training progress.
When you start out with a new exercise plan, whether it’s to shake off a few pounds or maintain activity through the Winter months, measure your heart-rate with a 2-mile walk or jog depending on what you’re aiming to achieve. Set your heart-rate, time yourself and over the course of 4 to 6 weeks you will clearly observe how fit you are getting, without even looking at the scales. By simply measuring your increasing speed versus the consistent intensity of your heart-rate, you can monitor the impact of your aerobic fitness program.
Remember to always seek medical clearance prior to beginning an exercise regime.
‘Sports Therapy by Sports People’