February is nationally recognized as heart health month. The value of knowing the benefits of heart rate tracking is vital. Today heart rate trackers have proven to be more than a fitness trend or mere fashion statement.

Fitness Director and Professional Fitness Trainer at Cooper Fitness Center, Mary Edwards, MS, vouches that tracking your heart rate is the most accurate way to gauge performance improvement. It is useful in determining the appropriate calorie expenditure for an individual, or the amount of calories someone needs to consume based on how many calories are burned from breathing, food digestion and physical activity.

Though various apps and calculators are available online to measure your calorie expenditure, the most accurate estimate is based off one’s personal heart rate. Edwards also affirms that heart rate tracking is effective in identifying symptoms of overtraining or illness, such as if your heart rate spikes immediately upon exercise and remains elevated despite the intensity of the activity.


Having knowledge of the spectrum of your personal cardiovascular capacity helps you capitalize on the purpose and role low-intensity and high-intensity exercise play in your workout . Two simple ways to calculate your appropriate heart rate range are based on your age. The first way, which is recommended by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), is to use the formula 208 – (0.7 x age). Myzone® recommends and uses an alternate formula of 211 – (0.64 x age), which is namely accurate for Myzone® users.

Heart rate tracking clarifies what impact physical activity has on your metabolism and gives a better idea of how the activity intensity should be altered in order to achieve greater results.

The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends that moderate intensity exercised be performed at 50-70 percent of your max heart for best results. AHA also suggests that interval training is best performed at 75-90-100 percent. ACSM recommends five days of moderate intensity or three days of interval training as part of your weekly fitness routine.

Heart rate trackers come in an assortment of styles including smart watches, rings, wristbands and chest straps. Edwards specifically recommends the Myzone® chest strap tracker because of its precision. So no matter what activity gets you moving, there is importance in knowing your numbers and using a heart rate tracker.

For more information on heart rate tracking or to schedule a session with a Professional Fitness Trainer, visit cooperfitnesscenter.com or call 972.233.4832.