The fitness industry is one where there are no absolutes. There is always one study that comes out that contradicts the trend everyone has been raging out for months and then we all hop onto the next trend. Although there are a lot of trends and fads in the industry, there is one thing that always stays true – Elevating your heart rate.
With an eye on calories being so important in body composition goals, we are going to give you some simple ways to get that heart rate skyrocketing in no time.
Before we jump straight in, let’s talk about some of the benefits of an elevated heart rate.
- The higher your heart rate is, the more calories you are burning. This becomes quite important when related back to weight loss. If you are expending more calories than you are eating, then science tells us that you’re on the right track.
- Elevating your heart rate increases your cardiovascular health. A healthy heart = Prolonged life.
- Regularly raising your heart rate results in improved stamina – This refers to a measurement of how long you can perform an activity, as opposed to how quickly or intensely.
- Aerobic activity helps you build a stronger immune system, therefore helping you resist infections such as colds and viruses.
With the above benefits of an elevated heart rate in mind, now it’s time to make it happen. We are going to give you 7 different ways to get that heart rate up to get you in tip top shape.
1. Interval Training – This method of training is extremely popular in the industry at the moment and for good reason. Commonly, intervals consist of specific time periods of work and rest, usually a 1:1 ratio when starting out (45 seconds work: 45 seconds rest). The great thing about intervals are that they can be performed anywhere, with any exercise or piece of equipment. As you get fitter you’ll need to decrease your rest periods to make it tougher Eg. 45 seconds work; 15 seconds rest – This would be a 3:1 ratio of work to rest.
2. Tabata – Discovered by Japanese scientist, Dr. Izumi Tabata – This is another form of interval training that only lasts for 4 minutes, consisting of 8 x 20 second rounds with 10 second rests. This is a 2:1 work to rest ratio. Studies showed that this style of training (4 minutes) benefited individuals far more than moderate intensity exercise over 60 minutes and can be performed with nearly any exercise.
3. Strength/Resistance Training – Commonly this form of training is seen to be of quite low intensity due to the large rest periods. Although when it comes to getting your heart rate up, strength training is one of the best. In a strength program you are commonly working at 80% or your maximum or above. This level of exertion is bound to get that heart rate through the roof. The best part about this is that you’re building some solid muscle at the same time. In short, the more muscle you have, the faster your metabolism runs. Sounds like a win, win right?
4. Swimming – This form of cardiovascular exercise is severely under-utilized when it comes to getting your heart rate up. Swimming uses nearly every single muscle in the body which is why it’s such a high intensity workout. On top of the heart rate benefits, swimming is a fantastic form of recovery as it reduces lactate levels in the blood and promotes circulation.
5. Active Recovery Periods – A great way to increase your heart rate and keep it up is to implement some active recovery into your workouts. Instead of taking complete rest between your sets of exercise, throw in some skipping or other light work such as step ups to keep your body moving. This will ensure that your heart rate doesn’t drop after you finishing your working set which in turn will keep you burning calories at rest and increase your aerobic capacity.
6. Add Some Explosiveness – Have you ever wondered by squat jumps are harder than bodyweight squats or why clap push-ups are harder than normal push-ups? It’s quite simple. The muscles need to produce more force in order to get you off the ground. This requires your heart to circulate more blood to the required muscles to make this happen. Once you’ve mastered the basic movement patterns with your own bodyweight, add some explosiveness into your workout and get some hang-time! I can guarantee your heart rate will go through the roof.
7. Lifestyle Changes – Creating small but effective habits in your lifestyle can elevate your heart rate with just the smallest of tasks. Below you’ll see a list of little tips you can implement into your everyday life to burn a few more calories every day.
· Tip toe while you take a shower or brush your teeth
· Park your car as far away as possible when you go to the shops
· Ditch the elevator and take the stairs
· Instead of emailing or texting someone close to you, get up, walk over and ask
· Use the first 15 minutes of everyday to have a stretch and a mini workout – Your body will thank you for the rest of the day.
If you have an eye for detail and like knowing how high your heart rate, there are many affordable heart rate monitors out on the market. This is a sure fire way to know how hard your heart is working and can aid in interval training and assessing your fitness level.
Just measure your resting heart rate now and re-measure it again in 4 weeks after you’ve used some of the tips above. The lower your resting heart rate is, the less work your heart needs to do to pump blood around the body. The average human resting heart rate is between 60-100 beats per minute. Lance Armstrong had a resting heart rate of 32BPM. Pretty impressive right?!