The month of February being the Love and Heart Month is a great time to spread the word on what you can do to prevent cardiovascular disease and have a healthy heart for both you and your loved ones. One way to help prevent cardiovascular disease is to exercise regularly and to make sure you are training properly, you should consider getting a heart rate monitor.
Exercise isn’t just something you and your loved ones can do so you can stick around longer for each other. It’s also something you can do together, as a way of spending more quality time and bonding. Exercise can benefit your heart in more ways than one!
Why Monitoring Your Heart Rate is Important While Working Out
Using your heart rate is a great way to improve your workout program and make sure you are exercising at the proper intensity level to achieve the best results from your training, whether it’s just for improved health, or for more competitive events. Or maybe you just want to beat your personal best in the 5k run next fall.
Heart rate monitors are basically a more advanced wrist watch, with the ability to monitor (duh!) your heart rate. Hence the term, heart rate monitor! Ha! We’re on a roll!
Anyway, heart rate monitors usually have a simple chest strap you wear under your clothing. This sends a wireless signal to your heart rate monitor on your wrist where you can read your current heart rate. Depending on the heart rate monitor, you can also get data such as your maximum heart rate for the entire workout and your average heart rate for the entire workout.
With some monitors you can input a target heart rate zone. This is a percentage of your max heart rate, say a zone of 60% to 70% of your max heart rate. The monitor will beep every time you get out of this zone, letting you know you either need to increase or decrease your intensity level to get back into your training zone.
Some high end heart rate monitors will even download information to your computer and give you lots of data and graphs and charts to analyze, if you are that into your workout program.
Probably the most well known manufacturers of heart rate monitors is Polar (www.polar.fi), which offers a wide range of monitors to choose from, at all different price points, with all different functions.
Some of the functions of the Polar FS1 include the aforementioned heart rate zone training, with an audible beep when you get out of the target zone. Hey, maybe they should add an electric shock or a verbal reprimand! Just kidding!
You get the basic display of current heart rate as well as how long you’ve been exercising and then your average heart rate for the entire training session.
The clock comes in both 12 and 24 hour display. You get the flexible chest strap and it comes in both yellow and dark blue colors.
You could say this is for beginners, although it really has enough data to satisfy most people, unless you are really into your training and love to crunch the numbers and see progress. This can be a fun, motivating thing to do as you track your data over time. As you get into it and see improvements, you may want to step up to a heart rate monitor with more information.
You might also want to consider a more advanced version:
Polar AXN 700
The Polar AXN 700 offers a lot more functions and features than the FS1. You have features for a variety of outdoor activities such as climbing, skiing and hiking.
Besides the basics mentioned for the F1, you get a resting heart rate test, three different settings for target zone training, as well as a slope counter and bearing setting. All this inside a titanium case.
You’ll also get some other cool, James Bond-like features, including HeartTouch™. HeartTouch™ allows for button-free operation of the monitor, via touching the Polar wrist unit to your chest transmitter belt.
You also get Polar OwnCode® which keeps your heart rate monitor from getting its signals crossed with other wireless monitors, making sure your heart rate data is your data. You’d have to have a incredibly intense workout that leaves you keeled over on the side of the road at the finish, only to see you barely got above your resting heart rate! That would be a bummer!
You might also want to check out:
Rebook (www.reebok.com) is also a big manufacturer of heart rate monitors now
There’s the Reebok Personal Trainer Heart Monitor – Rebook says the accuracy of this device is up to what you get with an actual ECG. That’s pretty cool! You also get the basic time, calendar and even a daily alarm.
It has a cool Scan Sequence, which allows you to touch a button and have it scroll through your average heart rate for your session, as well as your highest and lowest heart rate and total exercise time.
Reebok Precision Trainer Monitor
This monitor includes the heart rate target zone function with audible warning when you step out of line, or you know, get out of your target heart rate zone! It also gives you your heart rate in terms of a percentage of your max heart rate so you don’t have to calculate that number. Another nifty little function, especially for those mathematically challenged.
Other functions include a 99 hour stopwatch and accumulated time in the target zone.
Heart Month is a great time to look into the benefits of grabbing a high quality heart rate monitor and adding heart rate training to your exercise regimen. Don’t just do it for your improved training experience, do it for your heart.