Want to get the most out of your cardiovascular training program? Don’t just train harder, train smarter with max heart rate training. Knowing your max heart rate and working within targeted heart rate zones is the way to get the most out of your training, bar none. I recommend investing in a heart rate monitor for accurate heart rate training. All the bells and whistles are useful but a simple heart rate monitor will do for most cardiovascular training programs. Once you have this vital piece of equipment you’ll need to calculate your max heart rate before you get started with your training. To find this, just use the following formula. 220-age= max heart rate Now, use the number to calculate your ranges for different heart rate zones. Here is a rundown of the different heart rate training zones. Heart Rate Zone 1 Intensity: Very Low % Max Heart Rate: 50%-60% Zone 1 workouts are achieved by walking briskly. This is generally the intensity level used for warming up and cooling down. Train at this level if you are just beginning a cardiovascular training program for the first time, or have a history of heart problems. Heart Rate Zone 2 Intensity: Low % Max Heart Rate: 60-70% Relatively low level of heart rate training that is used for endurance workouts and is achieved by jogging slowly. Zone 2 is often called the “fat burning zone” because it is in this zone that your body releases fat from cells to be used as fuel for your workout. Heart Rate Zone 3 Intensity: Moderate Max Heart Rate: 70%-80% Heart rate training in zone 3 improves fitness by increasing lung capacity, size of blood vessels, and strength of your heart so that you can exercise longer before experiencing fatigue. This level of intensity is reached by running easily. In Zone 3 you are utilizing a 50-50 ratio of fats and carbohydrates to fuel your workouts. Heart Rate Zone 4 Intensity: High % Max Heart Rate: 80%-90% Zone 4 is reached by running hard. At these heart rates, your heart cannot pump enough blood and oxygen to fully supply the exercising muscles so they switch from aerobic to anaerobic energy source. Training at or slightly below this pace teaches your body to “recycle” the lactic acid created during the high intensity workout. Heart Rate Zone 5 Intensity: Very High % Max Heart Rate: 90%-100% This is the equivalent a maximal running effort and can only be maintained for brief periods of time. Typically Zone 5 heart rate training is utilized mostly during interval cardiovascular training programs. Getting a heart rate monitor and simply being aware of your heart rate and what heart rate zone(s) you are training in, can improve your workouts significantly. Resource Box: Trina Rowe is Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT), a Sports Clinical Specialist (SCS) and a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS). Trina is part of the physical therapy staff at the Santa Monica, CA Bauerfeind Performance Center. If you are in the Los Angeles area, you can visit the Bauerfeind Performance Center to be matched with a Polar Heart Rate Monitor and a detailed cardiovascular training program. Visit the Bauerfeind Performance Center Website for more information at http://raisingyourpotential.com.
No matter how hard you may try to avoid them, there is always a risk of sports injury. And the more contact in a sport, the greater the risk of injury. Now, this doesn’t mean that non-contact sports don’t have injury risks at all. In fact, the most frequent sports injuries athletes and active adults suffer are due to overuse. Some of the most common sports injuries occur to muscles, tendons (which connect our muscles to our bones) and ligaments (which connect our bones together). And the most frequent sports injuries are usually sprains (ligament injury) and strains (muscle injury) caused when an abnormal amount of stress is placed on tendons, joints, bones and muscle. So as an active adult, how do you avoid sports injuries? While there’s no simple answer, there are several steps you can take to reduce your risk of a ligament or tendon injury no matter what sport or activity you choose: 1. Strengthen your muscles - and not just the muscles you “think” you use in your sport. A balanced conditioning program exercises the entire body, so the proper muscles, tendons and ligaments support every movement you make. For example, in Basketball, it’s not just the lower body muscles that are used; building a strong core and upper body will not only help you avoid a tendon or ligament injury, but also add more power and control to your game. 2. Increase your flexibility - Stretching both before and after activity is vital to improving your flexibility and keeping your body in proper shape for activity. As with strength training, stretching should cover all parts of the body, with an emphasis on the muscle groups being used for your sport. Without proper stretching, tendon and ligament injury can occur more frequently. And be sure to relax while stretching to not only perform your stretches properly but also to be sure not to hurt yourself. While stretching, breathe in a normal, calm and relaxed fashion - holding your breath means you’re tense and that defeats the whole purpose of stretching, which is to relax your muscles and prepare them for activity. A routine stretching regimen is a great way to reduce your risk of sports injury. 3. Use the proper technique - No matter what sport you play, if your body is not moving in the proper form, you’re putting yourself at a higher risk for a sports injury. Proper sports biomechanics are crucial to not only performing at a high level, but also to make sure the body is moving properly and all of the joints and muscles are in alignment. For example, if you adjusted your golf swing to keep from slicing, but it put tremendous strain on your lower back, the likelihood of developing long-term sports injuries is high. Developing a tendon or ligament injury is not worth a few extra strokes! 4. Wear the proper equipment - and make sure it fits you. If you’re involved in a contact sport, you should wear the appropriate and properly fitted protective gear, including upper and lower body pads, a helmet, mouthpiece, face shield and/or eyewear. And always be aware that protective gear will not protect you from performing more dangerous or risky activities. Proper protective gear is one of the easiest things you can do to prevent sports injuries. 5. Take some time off - It’s smart to have at least one day off per week to allow the body time to recover. Many sports injuries occur when your body is tired and you’re continuing to push hard, so giving your ligaments, tendons and muscles the time to rest and recharge is crucial to avoiding sports injuries. 6. Stop your activity if you feel pain- The idea of “playing through pain” may work for professional athletes, but it’s not so smart for weekend warriors and active adults. If you feel recurring pain in a joint area or muscle, take time off from your sport and let your body heal. Visit a professional who can provide an accurate analysis and diagnosis of what may be causing the pain, and offer solutions that are best suited for your body, activity level and performance goals. Resource Box: For more information on how you can prevent sports injury and improve your performance, visit the Bauerfeind Performance Center in Santa Monica, CA. The new Bauerfeind Performance Center is helping athletes raise their potential throughout the Los Angeles area. Discover more tips at http://www.raisingyourpotential.com.