1 Heart Rate Monitor.
Needs to be accurate. Apple watches and any wrist monitor is not ideal. Best ones have a chest strap with a paired watch. I use a cheap $70 Polar brand. We have 6 at the gym, and you can check one out to borrow it until you get your own.
1. Establish your zone: Guideline is 180 - (your age). I'm 50 so 180-50 = 130. But I adjusted mine to 135-140 bpm zone.
2. Check and record resting heart rate before you get out of bed every morning. Use this info to see progress and also to know if you need a rest day (an above average resting heart rate indicates you need a break).
3. Spend a minimum of 45-60min. doing an activity where your heart rate is solidly in your zone the whole time. Running is the best, but you can get creative. You figure out how often you want to do this. Minimum is 2-3x per week.
4. Use some application to log the distance ran or some way to measure your performance within your set timeframe. This will provide the feedback you need to see progress. Your heart rate dictates your pace. I use the phone app: ‘Map My Run’. Your progress will be surprising. When I did this before, my first 5.6 mile run took 75 min. to complete while staying in my zone. A few months later the same distance took me 43 min. keeping to my zone. That’s mind-blowing.
Example 1 (Measuring Distance): If you decide to have running be your benchmark workout for this and you only have a specific time window to do your workout then you’ll want to log your distance covered as your way to measure progress. You should see your distance increase within the allotted time.
Example 2 (Measuring Time): Using running again as your benchmark, if you have a more flexible time window to do the workout you may want to do what I did. I had a set distance of 5.6 miles. I kept track of how long it took me to complete that run at my heart rate zone. You should see that time come down as your cardio improves.