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We’re spending this Valentine’s Day enjoying our “southern” home in Florida – near Siesta Key Beach! I’m not expecting flowers though and we won’t be exchanging cards. There also won’t be any candy or expensive jewelry. And we won’t be making dinner reservations either.
But we did take time a few weeks ago to talk about Valentine’s Day and what would be meaningful to us. Our plan for the day includes a long morning bike ride, walks on the beach, hanging out at the pool, a visit to a park we’ve never been to before, and having a glass of wine when we grill our dinner while watching the sunset.
We usually skip presents altogether, but this year we decided to get matching gifts! And we had to plan ahead so that they would arrive in time for us to bring them to with us to Florida. They are gifts from the heart – and for our hearts! Because we’re putting health over wealth this year.
We are the proud new owners of matching heart rate monitors.
Yep, we’re kind of crazy that way. We’d much rather spend our money on a practical gift like a heart rate monitor than typical Valentine’s Day gifts! There’s nothing wrong with typical if you enjoy that kind of thing, but spending money (and effort) on something that you don’t value isn’t a very smart decision!
We’ve been athletes since junior high school and we’ve never used heart rate monitors. So why now? Because Chris and Harry (of Younger Next Year) stress how important it is. Chris still skis black diamond runs in his early 80’s. He’s doing something right. And of course Harry (the medical doctor) explains the “why” of heart rate monitors in a way that makes a lot of sense to us.
Have you ever really focused on your exercise and failed to see results you expected? Us too. And now we know why. Here are some key points from a couple of chapters in Younger Next Year. (I’m doing a review of each chapter in our Facebook Group – Younger Next Year 2018. We’re up to 265 members working to “swim against the tide” of aging!)
- Muscles prefer to burn fat most of the time, for hard exercise they burn glucose
- Low intensity exercise (gathering) burns fat, high intensity (hunting) burns glucose – two different kinds of metabolism
- Heart Rate (HR) monitors help you know what kind of exercise you are doing. You’re only guessing without one. YOU CAN GET IN SHAPE WITHOUT A HR MONITOR, BUT YOU’LL WASTE A FAIR AMOUNT OF TIME AND EFFORT.
- 65% peak HR – fat burn or “first gear” – stiff walking pace
- Push harder – HR goes up – burn glucose – “second gear” This level has an upper limit – at about 80%. After that – anaerobic phase – produce lactate due to lack of oxygen
- Long, slow exercise (up to 65%) builds endurance general “healthiness:- and burns mostly fat. You can go all day, but not fast. It’s the tide of youth – the opposite of chronic inflammation. Helps your brain too!
- You become more FIT with harder exercise. This is the high aerobic zone. Adding hard aerobics make you faster and more powerful. “Hunting” brings out our youngest and best biology.
- Anaerobic exercise – no oxygen in your muscles. Lactate burn produced at about 85% of max heart rate. You can only do this for a short period of time due to intensity. Great way to get in “peak” shape – add in HIIT (interval) training a few times a week – not everyday
We bought heart rate monitors because we were missing that “high aerobic zone” (see the red arrow in the screenshot below)- and if that’s what brings out your youngest and best biology, we’re all for that!
All of our previous exercise efforts helped us to be healthier, but we weren’t becoming more fit either. And that can get frustrating. We’d add more time to our work-outs and it kept producing the same results…
The harder aerobic exercise and the HIIT – high intensity interval training (getting into that anaerobic phase for very short periods of time) will replace SOME – but not all of our long, slow exercise. A blend of aerobic exercise is what we think will work best – along with strength training two days a week. We can’t forget that because Harry (the doctor) reminds us that ““Aerobic exercise saves your life; strength training makes it worth living”.
So our new goal is to do at least 45 minutes of exercise six days a week to follow Harry’s Younger Next Year rules. And the key is at least 45 minutes – not always an hour, or two – or more! We want to use our heart rate monitors to work out smarter, not longer. Because there are plenty of other things to do with our time!
After doing some research, we chose Wahoo TickRx monitors. So now we’re #Wahooligans 😉 (And yes, that’s an affiliate link. If you ever click on my link and decide to purchase one, this site will earn a few dollars. That helps pay for things like web hosting, so thanks for your support!)
We’ve had a great time tracking our activity and heart rates the last few days. And we haven’t really started using all of the features! Here is a link to all of the apps that are currently supported – and there are a lot of them! There are members of the YNY FB Group who have them set with apps like LoseIt or other fitness apps. Some have lost a significant amount of weight tracking calories and activity!
The measuring and tracking can certainly matter!
We are also going to look into using our tracked miles to support a charitable organization through an app called Charity Miles! We might as well help others while we are getting more fit too!
Will a heart rate monitor make us more fit? Not by itself. But it is an important tool that we can use to build and maintain a strong aerobic base. Because what we were doing – wasn’t really working either!
And the cost? About $75 each. Some people pay more than that for their cell phone service each month or to sit around and watch cable TV – or BOTH. We’ll take a good pair of sneakers, our heart rate monitors, and a low-cost gym membership (which is also suggested by Harry and Chris!)
Happy Valentine’s Day – get out and enjoy the day! Your heart will be better for it! And make sure to schedule a doctor’s appointment before you start any physical activity and set up your important screenings too. That’s always a smart decision 😉