The benefits of heart-rate training


TomTom shares helpful tips on the many benefits of heart-rate training, and how to use a heart-rate monitor for better performance and health results.

For beginners and advanced runners (or anyone in a fitness rut, for that matter), heart-rate (HR) training is a highly effective way to improve overall performance and achieve fitness goals. As the name suggests, it involves using a heart-rate monitor to keep track of your heart rate while exercising, which will show you when you need to be working harder, or if you’re working too hard.

When using your heart-rate monitor, you’ll aim to work out within one of four heart-rate ‘zones’. Each zone represents a percentage of your beats per minute, or BPM, and the one you should aim for depends on your individual needs.

A professional trainer can help you determine which zone you should aim to reach with every workout, based on your age, level of health and fitness, and goals. Your trainer will also help you find your maximum heart rate to more accurately determine the parameters of your optimal HR training zones.

A good starting point is to get your hands on a suitable heart-rate monitor, like the TomTom Touch Cardio, TomTom Runner 3 or Spark 3 watches, which offer a built-in heart rate monitor to help you track and improve your fitness. These sleek devices also connect to your phone and sync activity data with the TomTom Sports app, allowing you to track your progress over time whenever you need to.

TomTom shares why you should consider heart-rate training as an effective way to stay fit, lose weight and have fun while you’re at it!

Stay motivated

Heart-rate training is not just a great way to become a better runner or improve your endurance during workouts – it can also be a lot of fun! Much like cross-training, where workouts and tempos are varied to promote cardio strengthening and fat-burning, heart-rate training encourages you to switch up your workout to include a variety of exercises to help you to hit the right ‘zone’ and reach your heart-rate goal. Switching up your workout routine prevents exercise from becoming a chore, ultimately motivating you to keep at it long after you see the results you’re after.

Train more efficiently

Whether your goal is to lose weight, improve your level of fitness or engage in productive activity while recovering from an injury, heart-rate training pushes you to find that ‘sweet spot’ you’re looking for. Based on the heart-rate zone you aim to hit, you’ll need to work a little harder to raise your heart rate if the reading is lower than this range, or scale back if your heart-rate is peaking over the maximum percentage of the zone. Keeping track of the heart-rate monitor on your TomTom Touch Cardio device is a smart way to gauge whether each training session is really working for you, or if you need to make a few adjustments to your workout in order to reach your goal.

Avoid injury

Heart-rate training is also one of the safest ways to maintain physical activity during recovery periods, or ahead of a big race or marathon you may be preparing for. For runners, heart-rate training is great for ‘easy run’ days (which are the days between fast workout days and give the body a chance to rest and heal), and helps to prevent injury caused by excessive training. It’s also an effective and motivating workout alternative if weight training is also part of your weekly routine, as it also allows for muscle recovery after a strenuous weight-lifting session.

Burn calories

For those looking to shed a few kilos, heart-rate training is an extremely effective way to burn fat more efficiently. For most people, running at a steady and consistent pace for 30 minutes for a set number of days each week will most likely result in a fitness and weight-loss plateau – this is why you may notice that your weight-loss efforts have taken a dive and you’re not seeing the results you want. You can work with your trainer to identify the heart-rate zone you should be aiming for to lose that stubborn extra weight, and come up with a strategic weight-loss programme using the heart-rate training method for better results.

Maintain a healthy heart

The key to living a healthy life starts with taking care of your body’s most important muscle – the heart – and heart-rate training is the perfect way to do this. The heart pumps oxygen-rich blood to all the major organs in our bodies, which can be negatively impacted by poor fitness. However, more exercise leads to more blood being pumped from the heart to all the areas of the body that need it the most, and heart-rate training effectively accelerates this process, promoting a lower resting heart rate, which can also decrease your chance of developing heart disease in the future.

Kick-start your heart-training programme today with the new TomTom Touch Cardio – the watch that brings personal coaching to your wrist. Other exciting features include data-syncing with the TomTom MySports mobile app, available at one of the most attractive price points on the market. For more information on this and other industry-leading TomTom fitness, navigational and action-capturing devices, visit www.tomtom.com.

Author: Pedro van Gaalen

When he’s not writing about sport or health and fitness, Pedro is probably out training for his next marathon or ultra-marathon. He’s worked as a fitness professional and as a marketing and comms expert. He now combines his passions in his role as managing editor at Fitness magazine.