Exercising in your “target heart-rate zone” has become increasingly popular as monitors have become more accessible as inexpensive gadgets or fixtures on treadmills and cross trainers.
But is this sort of monitoring really necessary to protect your heart fromexcess strain? All of the exercise researchers who spoke to the Globe said no.
“I think they’re silly since most people know how hard they’re exerting themselves,” said Dr. Timothy Church, director of preventive medicine research at Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, La.
Dr. Paul Thompson, cardiology chief at Hartford Hospital, said such monitors overcomplicate exercise and get people nervous when they see they’re beyond their maximum heart rate. “They’re told it should be 220 beats per minuteminus their age,” he said, but it’s normal for some people to exceed that maximum temporarily.
Instead, he recommends exercising to the point where you’re sweating and slightly short of breath. If you can talk comfortably during exercise, you’re likely exercising at the appropriate intensity.