Heart Rate Monitor Basics
For anyone whose fitness goal is nothing less than total body conditioning for both strength and stamina, a heart rate monitor is an essential piece of equipment. Once only available to elite athletes, a good heart rate monitor can be purchased today for about $100. You can use a heart rate monitor to accurately target each workout to make sure you are achieving the fitness level you seek.
Electronics have become a necessary part of our fitness routines. Whether you’re playing music, books on tape, or using elliptical machines or treadmills, you’re likely plugged in. Now there’s one more piece of electronic equipment that’s a true necessity: a heart rate monitor. It can make all the difference between workouts that truly get you to your fitness goal, and merely showing up to exercise.
Heart rate monitors were once used only by elite athletes, but with today’s affordable electronics, anyone can get one for about $30 to $150 or so. Most heart rate monitors use a band around your chest to measure your heart rate, with a monitor on your wrist to tell you what your rate is, and whether you are in the right zone for your fitness goal. There are many variations of this basic setup, available for cyclists, swimmers, runners, triathletes and others, as well as a wide variety of features to help you track your workout.
How Does A Heart Monitor Work?
A heart rate monitor works by telling you when your heart rate is in the correct zone for the results you want. The correct heart rate will depend on your age, and the fitness targets you hope to accomplish. Generally, workout out at an intensity sufficient to keep your heart rate between 65% and 80% of your maximum is where you want to be, going to the upper or lower end of that range for different benefits.
With the band on your chest and the heart rate monitor on your wrist, you can see the results as you exercise. Many monitors now also have alarms that tell you when you are in the right “zone” for your desired results. Some also have features that allow you to upload your workout results to the Web. Other features include counting how many calories you are burning, how many steps you’re taking (using a pedometer feature) and training routines you can follow.
Discount Heart Rate Monitors
While there are less expensive heart rate monitors on the market, you really will get what you pay for. Spending under $100 will get you a serviceable monitor, but it won’t have the best features. Keep in mind that there are great places online to buy your monitor at a discount, such as Amazon.com, as well as taking advantage of a sale in-store at your local retail outlets.
Polar Heart Rate Monitors
There are several top selling heart rate monitors, in a variety of price ranges. Polar heart monitors are very popular as they offer many of the features consider the Polar F7 heart rate monitor. It combines the ease of wearing your heart rate monitor on your wrist, without worrying about other equipment to get in the way. For folks that have been considering a pedometer, this might be a better option, as it really can help you track whether you're losing weight or sticking to your fitness goals, beyond just a number of steps per day.
Heart Monitor Watch
Some heart rate monitor watches are available that don’t use the chest band. This is thought to be uncomfortable for many people. However having the watch itself be the same item that check your heart rate, using your pulse, is not generally as sensitive, and therefore not as accurate. A heart monitor watch works with sensors in the wrist band to track your heart rate, and reports the results. Many features are the same as the heart rate monitors, including tracking how many calories have been burned, inputting daily and weekly calorie goals, and a display with the heart rate, exercise time, and average heart rate.Don’t confuse a heart rate monitor watch with a pedometer watch. A pedometer watch is usually limited to counting steps, with some other functions, but does not check your heart rate.