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Heart Rate Monitor Helps With Sensible Workout

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Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

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Sometimes the hardest thing about exercise is getting started again once you have taken a break.

Over the next few months we're looking at using heart rate monitors to make your workout easier and more effective.

Dr. Mulvihill reports on the heart rate workout.

Allan Gonzalez: "I used to play sports quite a bit at college and high school, but once I joined the workforce, I kind of laid off and haven't been too active for awhile."

A former defensive lineman at Stanford University, 30-year-old Allan Gonzalez wants to get back in an exercise routine.

He says using a heart rate monitor has helped him break some bad habits.

"I was always in the cycle of getting involved with workouts, pushing myself too hard, getting injured and burned out, and not being able to maintain that," he says.

Fitness expert and professional triathlete Eric Harr says keeping an eye on your heart rate is particularly important when you're working out in a group, like this spin class at the San Francisco Bay Club.

Eric Harr: "Group workouts are great, because of that social facilitation factor: Other people in the room, you are feeling really motivated. You have the instructor, you have the music. Those things are great. Play to those strengths. However, they can be very, very... you can over exert yourself in those workouts."

Pushing too hard... too fast. Keeping an eye on your heart rate is like having a coach say, "Hey, you need to slow down."

Harr says the goal is fit without fatigue.

"You want to just gauge your effort and go moderately hard every day, so that you're always ready for more, you never burn out. That's why the lower heart rates help you over time. So, you may not get the quick, fast results, but you'll get the results over the long haul."

It's an approach that seems to be working for Allan.

"So far this has really helped me keep it at an even keel, and keep myself interested, and still feel that I'm making gains in my fitness level. I want to do this the rest of my life," he says.

It's important to keep track of how your feeling during group workouts. If the music and the energy gets you pushing too hard, don't be afraid to slow it down.

The goal is a healthy workout, not one that burns you out or leads to an injury.

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