Using A Heart Rate Monitor

heart-rate-monitor-cardio-fitness-educationOne of the first things you might realize is that the heart rate monitor provides a link between the body  and mind. No more guessing at exercise intensity. No more stopping in the middle of an aerobic session to search desperately for a pulse, hoping to get a reasonably close count before your heart rate starts to plummet (manual palpation). The following steps will help  you get started using  a heart rate monitor.

Strap it on and get it working.

Do you remember your  first experience with a digital  wristwatch, programming a personal digital  assistant, or learning a new software program? This  is going to be easier. To start, just  put  on the  wrist  monitor (receiver), fasten the  transmitter to the  elastic chest strap, and put it on. Then make sure a heart rate number is displayed on the monitor. If you experience problems getting a heart rate display, refer to the  instruction manual that came  with the  monitor.

The  flashing  icon  is your heart actually beating. It  should beat rhythmically without hesitation or irregularity. A heart rate monitor is not  intended to serve as an indicator of an irregular or abnormal cardiovascular condition, but  it may do that as well.

Learn how to program your monitor.

Monitors all work  differently. Depending on  the  model, some of the  functions include memory, backlighting, stopwatch, time  of day,  training zones, out-of-heart-zone alarms, multiple zone  settings, and  countdown timers. Generally, the  more features there are,  the more expensive the  monitor will be and  the  less  relevant it may be for school use.  Learn the  various functions of your  monitor.

 Defer judgment.

Before  you introduce this  heart rate technology to students, become an expert in its use. As soon as  your  monitors arrive, strap one  on and  wear  it around the  clock;  experience all of the  nuances of seeing your  heart rate response to your  everyday activities. This will familiarize you with the monitor so you can teach your  students about it. At this  point, it is important to accept the  monitor reading without opinion. Your monitor is a management tool,  not  a speedometer. Within the  first 40 hours, you will begin  to feel comfortable wearing it and  will probably learn a lot about how your  heart responds to your  daily activities. Then  you  can  begin  to learn how  to use  it as a feedback monitor by noticing your  heart rate in certain situations, particularly stressful ones, and  begin  to rely on this  information to make some lifestyle decisions.

To teach students how  to get fit using  a heart rate monitor, you  must become familiar with  its features and  functions. Getting  to know  it may  not  be easy  at first.  Regardless of your initial comfort level, however, know that the information it is providing you, data about your  cardiac muscle, is accurate and  can be used in ways to help  you get healthier.

Work out.

Perform several of your favorite workouts wearing your monitor. Observe the numbers and get comfortable with the  information you see.

Learn to use it fully.

Now that you have  some experience with a heart rate monitor, start to learn more about it. Discuss the  monitor, the  HZE program, and individual training programs with other health and physical education teachers. Attend training sessions, or sponsor one for yourself and the other teachers at your school. Many books on the market address the application of this technology, including for stress reduction, athletic club  programs, cardiac rehabilitation, weight  management, athletic performance training, and  even  training racehorses.

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