Listen to your heart… Aka heart rate monitoring

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This post won’t be about following your passion or moving to a new city for your loved on. Or the Roxette song highlighted above. It’s about paying attention to the feedback your heart gives you on a daily, hourly or even continual basis.

As much as I love simply going out and getting stuff done, I’m learning to paying more attention to what my heart is saying (in more ways than one). There’s a trend towards being a slave to technology with fitness trackers and all but that’s not what I’m advocating here. I’m simply telling folks to have some kind of feedback loop and look to see what is working and what isn’t, after the fact.

I started doing heart rate (HR) training during my Ironman days, with some good results. I think most people starting out have only one speed and it’s usually too fast, it’s usually going to the well too often. Having an idea of your heart rate zones and staying within them is crucial for continuous progress and health in my book. For more info, check out Phil Maffetone’s formula which breaks it down nicely.

I also use resting HR as one of the main measures of my health these days. If it’s up a few beats, it’s usually due to my diet, some extra stress or lack of sleep/rest. So then I concentrate on those areas for a few days and it usually comes back down. I find it such an incredible barometer and it’s easily figured out if you monitor your heart muscles in any way like I do with my FitBit. A lower HR is linked to a lot of health benefits but basically you’re not using your heart as much in your day to day (and that’s a good thing).

The new kid on the block is heart rate variability (HRV). It basically look at the way your heart beats and what happens between those beats to give you a better idea of its health. It does take a bit more technology to monitor but I think it’s where a lot of people will go very shortly. I will also be experimenting with it in the coming months so stay tuned!


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