Cross training exercise machines help tone your legs, upper body and torso and help you shed the pounds because they burn fat and calories. Measuring your pulse rate, which is also your heart rate, before, during and after using one helps you to train more effectively and at a level tailored to your age and overall fitness. Assessing your maximum heart rate, the rate at which your heart beats per minute, is an essential first step because it helps you monitor your performance and stops you over-exerting yourself by putting too much strain on your heart. You can determine your maximum heart rate by subtracting your age from 220.
Establish your resting heart rate. This helps you measure the beneficial effects of your training programme because your resting heart rate decreases as your fitness levels improve. You can take your pulse manually if you don’t have a heart rate monitor. Press down lightly on the underside of your wrist, just above the wrist bone underneath your thumb, using your index and middle fingers. Count the number of beats for either six or ten seconds and multiply this number by ten or six.
Monitor your heart rate while training. Many cost training machines are equipped with a monitor that displays your heart rate on a digital screen. Alternatively, invest in a basic monitor that you can strap around your wrist or torso. Determine the intensity level at which you should be training by measuring this against your maximum heart rate. Aim to keep within 50 to 60 percent of your maximum heart rate if you are just starting out, 60 to 70 percent when building up fitness levels, 70 to 80 percent to improve cardiovascular and respiratory capacity and 80 to 90 percent if you are already extremely fit and want to improve your overall performance. Slow down or take a short break if your heart rate exceeds desired levels.
Assess your recovery rate. Your recovery time decreases as you become fitter. Measure you pulse manually or with a heart rate monitor immediately after exercising and continue until your heart returns to its normal resting rate.