Training zones for weight loss (part one)

Nordic Walking is a great way to get your whole body moving and to significantly improve the condition of your muscles, heart and lungs. It will boost your energy levels and can help you to ward off medical conditions such as: Heart Disease and Strokes, high blood pressure, Type 2 Diabetes, bowel cancer, osteoporosis and osteoarthritis, stress and anxiety and obesity.

A few of our walkers have recently mentioned that they are walking to specifically lose weight. For this to happen effectively we need to ensure that we are walking at a specific intensity. The intensity of your activity indicates how many calories you are burning and which fuel source your body is tapping into and using.

The best way to measure the intensity of your activity is to track your heart rate or pulse. Once your maximum heart rate (MHR) has been established you can then monitor which training zone you are working in. The general method for calculating your MHR is a simple formula:- 220 minus your age. So the MHR of a 60 year old person would be 160.

However one of the problems with the 220-age equation is that it makes no allowances for individual differences in resting heart rate. There is a calculation (Karvonen Formula) which uses your resting heart rate. By incorporating the heart rate reserve (HRR) into the equation, in theory a more accurate training zone can be determined. It is a more personalised method of determining your baseline as it takes into account your fitness levels.

I am currently trying out simple heart rate monitoring iphone apps.  I am hoping to be able to use this tool to help and encourage anyone wishing to understand how to achieve their weight loss goals.

Look out for Part two next week with a review of the HRM Apps and more detailed information about the training zones.

Please feel free to talk to me about this if you are interested in monitoring your exercise intensity whilst Nordic walking.