Whether you’re just starting out or you’re an experienced runner, heart rate training is a really great way to improve your performance and hit those fitness goals. It may seem like an unnecessary gadget but a heart rate monitor can do a lot for you simply by tracking your heart rate while you exercise, and once you’ve begun to see changes in your heart rate you can see where you should be working harder or taking it easier. Here are 5 benefits of using a heart rate monitor when you hit the gym or the road.

How does it work?

It’s pretty simple – all you need to do is aim to workout within one of four heart rate zones, with each zone accounting for beats per minute (or BPM) percentage. Choose one based on your individual needs and fitness level, but start slowly and try get help from a trainer at first if you can, just to prevent you from overworking yourself or going into unhealthy territory by pushing yourself too hard.

Here are 5 benefits of heart rate training:

1. It keeps you motivated

Just like in cross-fit training where your workout and pace is varied to increase your cardio strength and fat burning potential, heart rate training keeps you switching up your workout routine. Including a variety of different kinds of exercises helps you hit the correct heart rate zone to reach your heart rate goal. It also prevents boredom with doing the same exercise over and over, which in turn motivates you to keep going.

2. You can train more efficiently

If you’re planning to lose weight, improve your endurance or just increase your general health, heart rate training pushes you to find your best fitness level. Depending on your chosen heart rate zone, you’ll need to start working harder and harder to raise your BPM. Keeping track of your heart rate in this way is a smart way to figure out if each session is working or not, or how you could adjust them to improve.

heart rate training

3. It helps you avoid injury

As one of the safest ways to train and maintain physical activity during recovery periods, heart rate training is also great for ‘easy run’ days where you give yourself a chance to heal while still being active, and thereby prevent unnecessary injury usually caused by unmonitored, excessive training.

4. You’ll burn more calories

If you’re looking to lose a bit more weight, training with a heart rate monitor is an effective way to burn extra calories. It does this by training your body to burn more fat. For most people, after running a similar way for a set amount of time, they’ll more than likely hit a fitness and weight-loss plateau and they’ll no longer see the results they want. With a heart rate monitor, you’re aiming for a better zone over time to curate your own strategic weight loss programme and you’ll get better results.

5. You’ll maintain a healthy heart

While it may seem obvious, the real key to health is taking proper care of your most important muscle – the heart. No matter how fit you are, if your heart is unhealthy then you are unhealthy. Heart rate training allows for more oxygen-rich blood to reach all your major organs and cells, effectively accelerating this normal process and promoting a lower resting heart rate. These, in turn, decrease your risks of heart disease later in life.

If you’re keen to start training with a heart rate monitor try investing in a reliable brand with good customer feedback. Do your homework before investing in a fitness band to ensure it will suit your needs and accurately track the information you are after. We love the TomTom Cardio, TomTom Runner 3 or TomTom Spark 3 watch, which all monitor your heart rate and coach you from your wrist, and then sync your data to the TomTom Sports app to track your perfomance over time.

Want more fitness reads? Click through to our Fitness section for more great fitness news, reviews, and features.