Heart rate monitors can be an invaluable tool for athletes. A quality heart rate monitor can accurately gauge the intensity of your workouts, which can help you understand how effective they are and how much progress you’re making. In order for your workouts to be effective, you have to continually challenge yourself. This means pushing your body hard enough to put it under stress, but not so hard that it becomes dangerously strained. Keeping your heart rate within a specific target range keeps you working at the right intensity within limitations that are customized for you.
The more you work out, the less of a challenge the same workout presents to your body, and the more you have to step up your game to get the same results. A heart rate monitor can accurately tell you when you’ve plateaued and need to rev up your routine. It can also alert you if your heart rate becomes dangerously high. Having a personal, portable heart rate monitor guarantees you accurate and consistent results.
Heart rate monitors work by measuring your pulse rate from different pulse points in your body. Today’s heart rate monitors are lightweight, completely wireless, and come in a range of styles with a range of features. The type of heart monitor you choose will depend on your sport, your individual preference, your sport and your budget.
Chest Strap Monitors
Chest strap monitors feature bands with built-in pulse sensors. The band is placed around your chest, where it records your pulse rate and sends it wirelessly to a display screen, which is usually worn around the wrist like a watch. In some cases, the wrist display band also functions as a watch and a stopwatch, and can be worn apart from the chest strap. Chest strap monitors are more accurate than other monitor types, but they are also pricier, and some athletes find them uncomfortable.
Watch monitors are less accurate than chest strap monitors, but they are also more affordable and less cumbersome to use. To read your heart rate, you press your fingertips against sensors in the watch for five to ten seconds. This may mean that you have to stop exercising periodically for a few seconds to get a reading.
Your heart rate monitor can be as teched-out and sport-specific as you like. Some monitors are simple, all-purpose models that and only register your heart rate and alert you if it falls out of range. Some will provide you with your heart rate range based on information you give them, and can be adjusted for different variables. Some are waterproof models designed for swimmers; others feature foot devices that measure steps traveled, distance and speed. The highest-end models feature GPS tracking that measures distance traveled and speed in real time. These are ideal for distance runners and bikers.
Heart rate monitors are available at online and storefront sports and fitness stores, as well as on Amazon.com. Take the time to read product descriptions and online reviews before you make your decision.