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zone class – are you working hard or hardly working?

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Are you training at the right intensity for your fitness goals? Unsure? Using a heart rate monitor not will not only tell you your heart rate during exercise and at rest but it will allow you to know and track if you’re training within the right training zones for your goals. It can also be beneficial as you will know if you are training hard enough or you could perhaps push yourself a little harder than you may think.

Getting in to the Zone

With the use of a heart rate monitor you can warm up and cool down correctly. This is essential to keep your heart healthy. When warming up, your heart rate should gradually increase and not spike too quickly. This should last roughly 5-10 minutes and the heart rate should steadily increase to 60% of your max heart rate (MHR) in order for the body to be prepared for exercise. Your max heart rate is the maximum your heart will be able to beat in a minute whilst exercising and the older you get the lower this will be. This is estimated by 220-age= max heart rate. It can also be figured out by taking part in a maximal test which is considered to be more accurate (we offer these in the fitness assessment on either the Skill bike or the Skill run).

Heart rate workouts

When working out everyone will have different training zones based on their age and heart rate. For example a 20 and 40 year old could be training within the same zone but their heart rates will be different. This is what makes it specific to the individual and a useful tool to get the most out of each workout.

What are the different heart rate zones?

Very light 50%-60% MHR

This is a very low intensity of exercise. In this zone it will prepare your body for exercise and get you ready for the higher training levels.

This type of exercise is mainly walking and light cycling and even classes like body balance.

Light 60%-70% MHR

You body will be able to train at this intensity for a longer duration at a constant pace. This will improve general endurance whilst your body will be better at oxidizing (burning fat) along with muscular fitness also improving.

This type of exercise is through running at a constant pace or cycling.

Moderate 70%-80% MHR

Within this zone this is effective at improving the efficiency of blood circulation in the heart and the skeletal muscles. This is when lactic acid will build up in the blood stream so it is important to cool down to 60% of your MHR and stretch off to eliminate this from the muscles avoiding them feeling heavy. Breathing will be rhythmical.

This type of exercise could be moderate to fast paced running or group cycle class

Hard 80%-90% MHR

Training in this zone is a lot more difficult and breathing becomes rapid. In this zone you will improve your speed endurance and the body will be able to cope with higher levels of lactic acid in the bloodstream.

This type of exercise is usually for short periods of time such as sprinting, groupbox and metafit but at maximal effort.

Maximum 90%-100% MHR

This zone is where you are training at your maximum but this can only be held for a few minutes as the build up of lactic acid will stop the body from working at this intensity. This will be the highest your heart rate will increase to.

This type of training is through high intensity interval training (HIIT)

the importance of a cool down

No matter what type of training you have taken part in, whether it be strength or cardio training a cool down is essential for the body to return to it’s resting state, prevent injury and allow breathing to become normal.

‘Cool down’ means you are bringing your heart rate gradually back down to it’s normal. During exercise the heart beats faster and blood vessels dilate making it easier for the blood to flow around the body and working muscles. If you stop immediately after exercise you risk the chance of passing out, feeling sick, the muscles taking longer to recover and increased risk of injury.

If you are running or taking part in cardio activity you want to gradually decrease the speed/intensity. This should be for roughly 5 minutes or until you feel you have brought yourself down to a comfortable heart rate. It will also stop muscle soreness as this will release the lactic acid from the body that was built up during the exercise.

Cooling down will also bring body temperature back down to normal as when we are exercising the temperature of our bodies increases. Drinking water should also be part of a cool down as this will replace any fluids that were lost during exercise and will also hydrate the body, aiding recovery.

Stretching should also be included at the end as this will not only aid recovery and stop the muscles becoming tight but it will also help flexibility. Thus improving your range of movement (i.e being able to squat lower or finding it easier to bend down to pick things up from the ground).

where can i purchase a heart rate monitor?

At Banks O Dee we currently stock Polar H7 chest straps. These are compatible with our Group Cycle bikes and will be used in the Zone elements of FIVE, Group Box, Metafit and Group Athletic. You can also use them for your own workouts by downloading the Polar Beat app. Purchase your monitor from us for £44.99 (limited time only) RRP £65.99.

Speak to any of our instructors and they will help you set up your monitor. We look forward to having you in the Zone. Classes start 21st August 2019.

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