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Learning about my heart rate via Xbox Fitness Trainer.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

What an unlikely revelation from a video game console! Let me explain.

I have never worked out with someone who measured my heart rate. I've been told how to do this lots of times but never know how to apply it. I occassionally grab the heart rate monitor while working out on the treadmill and its sometimes around 140 but I have no idea what that meant!

Today's 45-minute workout was my first time trying my new Fitness Trainer on our Xbox. I had to tell the woman to slow down, and I think this deducted my calories. Oh well, its just further motivation. The nice thing is that I learned from doing the fitness evaluation that I have a low resting heartrate (around 66 beats per minute) and that when I perceive that I am working hard, the game told me it was a low impact exercise since my heart was only elevated to 130-something.

According the American Heart Association "The heart beats about 60 to 80 times a minute when we're at rest. Resting heart rate usually rises with age, and it's generally lower in physically fit people. Resting heart rate is used to determine one's training target heart rate. Athletes sometimes measure their resting heart rate as one way to find out if they're overtrained. The heart rate adapts to changes in the body's need for oxygen, such as during exercise or sleep."

The problem is that with my asthma, even though my heart rate is only 130-something, I perceive it to be much higher. I might be in pain, with restricted breathing, and feel like screaming, "I am dying!!" I literally thought I was just really fat and out of shape. I watch more obese people than me on TV and totally relate to their struggles. I shared that thought with my boyfriend and he started laughing, "Emily, you are not like those people," but in a way I really feel that way when I work out! I thought it was my weak mind, my poor fitness level, my fault.

I am thinking that I should visit a doctor to ask how to manage my asthma better. Right now it really affects how often and how long I am able to work out. I only have an inhaler for emergencies, and use cough medicine as an expectorant if I feel like there is "stuff" in my lungs. Once a year I usually get VERY VERY sick, with bronchitis that a doctor usually says (and I quote) "Well, at least its not pneumonia"... and I lose time at work and from socializing because I fear going out in the winter especially. In the past, I worked on mental health issues, and major dental issues, and this just sort of went to the back burner. If I am perceiving it now to be a barrier to weight loss, maybe its a good idea to explore some options.

I wonder if there is something I can do to relieve the pressure and chest pain during workouts or during the day. The bright side of all this is that I bet I am in better shape than I actually think I am! That would be really cool to find out.
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