Introduction to heart rate based training

People often wonder how much and in which intensities they should train. The simplest means of determining this is to listen to your own body. Heart rate based training gives clear guidance on how to train to reach your individual goals, based on your personal heart rate and heart rate variability. Although there are many subjective clues as to how your body is doing during exercise – such as perceived exertion, breathing rate, and physical sensations – none is as reliable as measuring heart rate.

Being an accurate measure for workout intensity, recovery level and long-term progress, heart rate is a window to your own fitness. Each person reacts to physical strain individually, depending on the size of the heart, fitness level, skills, and daily changes of stress level. This can be seen in heart rate variability, which measures the variations in the time between successive heart beats. Unlike common misconception, heart does not beat as regular as clockwork. On the contrary, the healthier the heart, the better it adapts to different situations and changing circumstances. Polar training computers can detect these slight changes in heart rate variability by measuring beat-to-beat intervals in milliseconds.

With regular training, the heart muscle becomes stronger, so it does not have to contract that often – therefore decreasing heart rate both during exercise and in rest, and increasing heart rate variability, which is a sign of fitness and a healthy heart. Polar has introduced number of features based on heart rate and heart rate variability that help athletes and active people in fitness assessment, guide them in their training and give tools for training follow-up. This way heart rate monitoring enables you to accurately adjust your training program, helping you vary your training depending on your fitness level and the goals you want to achieve by training.