Heart-rate monitors add a new dimension to your exercise sessions, maximizing the quality of your workouts thanks to a wide range of benefits. Physical activity is something that we should all be doing, but to continue with it so that you’re getting exercise on a regular basis – something that many of us struggle with – requires motivation and persistence. Using a heart-rate monitor is a great help in both these areas. Tennis Australia’s strength and conditioning coach Aaron Kellett says heart-rate monitors provide you with a hard physiological variable that you can monitor to gain feedback about your exercise intensity.
“Without the use of a heart-rate monitor you’re left with the subjectiveness of how you’re feeling,” he said. “One major benefit is you get a somewhat linear response between heart rate and exercise intensity … so if your heart-rate goes up, you know you’re obviously exercising more intensely.” “In the zone” Cardio Tennis coaches will always want to know if you’re “in the zone”, referring to the optimal level of 70 to 90 percent of your maximum heart-rate that you should be working in during a Cardio Tennis workout. Heart-rate monitors make it easy to track this.
Suunto Brand Manager Sam Robinson explains that the Suunto M2 – the recommended heart-rate device for Cardio Tennis – lets you know exactly which heart-rate zone you’re working in. This is an indication of where you’re sitting in a range based on your max heart-rate level, letting you know if you need to raise or drop your level.
“In a Cardio Tennis workout you should mostly be performing in Zone 2 (70 to 80 per cent of your max heart-rate) as this maximises the improvements to your health and fitness,” he said. “Working above Zone 3 (80 to 90 per cent) won’t burn fat and could risk injury, while below Zone 1 shows you’re not working hard enough. You should be in Zone 2 for the bulk of your session, push into Zone 3 for intense cardio bursts, and aim for Zone 1 for recovery.” Robinson adds that the Suunto M2’s calorie burning information is very relevant to many Cardio Tennis participants, who take it up in a bid to lose weight.
A Finnish university study supported by Suunto found that overweight or obese women exercising with Suunto heart-rate monitors had greater improvements in several areas of health. This was compared with overweight or obese women in groups who followed a modified diet or exercised without using a heart-rate device.
The study highlighted the importance of exercising regularly and at the correct intensity using the guidance of a heart-rate monitor. This had lead to significant reductions in insulin resistance, blood glucose, fatty acid and blood lipid levels in the women of this group, even before they showed signs of weight loss or improved fitness. A Suunto spokesperson says the study’s findings should motivate you to persist with your exercise program, even if the benefits to your body aren’t immediately noticeable.
Heart Rate Monitor Hygiene
Keep your heart rate monitor clean and hygienic to ensure it performs to its maximum capacity for longer. Heart rate monitors are a valuable addition to your Cardio Tennis armoury. They give you an excellent measure of how hard your heart is working during a session, allowing you to increase or decrease the intensity of your workout as needed. They also provide hard and fast measurements like maximum and average heart rate and calories burned, which you can use to assess your performance and monitor your progress over time.
For your heart rate monitor to continue functioning as such a valuable tool, it’s important you keep it clean and hygienic. Suunto heart rate monitors are the recommended models for Cardio Tennis, and according to Sunnto Brand Manager Sam Robinson, it’s easy to keep them hygienic. “The fabric strap can be hand-washed in either room temperature or warm water. We don’t recommend putting it in the washing machine,” he says. “The whole heart rate monitor is water proof, and the wrist-top unit can also be submerged in water, as long as you’re not using detergent. There’s not much else (needed in terms of hygiene steps) beyond washing in water.”
Robinson says that it’s important to wash your heart rate monitor after every Cardio Tennis workout.“If people have their own device, they can rinse it in the shower, which we recommend,” he explains.“The benefit of keeping the belt washed is that the contact pads used to pick up your heart rate will work better and last longer, and perform to a higher level.”