How to monitor your heart rate

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Before we look at that they do, I just wanted to let you know that we have reviewed 5 popular heart rate monitors which you can skip to if you don't want to read the rest of this page.  You can read our reviews here:

  1. FT40 Heartrate Monitor Review
  2. Omron HR-100C Heart Rate Monitor Review
  3. Polar FS1 Heart Rate Monitor Watch Review
  4. Polar FT7 Heart Rate Monitor Review
  5. Timex T5J031 Heart Rate Monitor Review

Heart Rate Monitors are health gadgets that are becoming incredibly popular among a wide variety of people from the weekend exerciser to the high level athlete. Heart rate monitors come in many different shapes and sizes and very often will reveal further information past just your heart rate.

You may be able to find a heart rate monitor and a pedometer in one, or you may come across a heart rate monitor that's also going to estimate your total calorie expenditure as well.

Whichever heart rate monitor you have your sights on, it's important to understand the main benefits that these provide and how they will help you realize true success on your fitness and wellness plan.

Let's take a quick look at what you should know about heart rate monitors.

What Heart Rate Monitors Do

A heart rate monitor is essentially going to monitor your heart rate in a beats per minute fashion. Before heart rate monitors came out, you would have had to take your heart rate using the old-fashioned method of placing two fingers either by your neck or on the inner portion of your wrists where the heart rate is most easily tracked and then count for ten seconds straight before multiplying by six to get your beats per minute rate.

Now with the advancements in technology, getting this recording is all done through this device, leaving you to focus on what matters – your workout.

What Benefits You'll Get From A Heart Rate Monitor

So now that you understand what heart rate monitors do, why are they beneficial to you?

One of the key benefits that a heart rate monitor is going to provide you with is allowing you to see the intensity at which you're working out with.

For instance, if you want to make sure that your body is only burning fat as a primary fuel source, then you'll need to workout at the ‘fat burning intensity zone', which is characterized by a slightly lower overall heart rate.

Or, if you're really looking to increase your fitness level and improve your VO2 max, which is a recording of how much oxygen your body is able to utilize during intense physical activity, then you're going to want to be working in the range of 90% of your maximum heart rate or above, so a heart rate monitor will allow you to see how close you're coming to this.

For those who are brand new to exercise as well, a heart rate monitor can quickly reveal to them how hard they are working so that they can be sure they aren't moving into a range that's unsafe for them to do at this point.

Many of those who have specific medical conditions may also be advised by their doctors to keep their heart rate under a certain value so the heart rate monitor will be able to instantly tell you if you're taking things up just a little too high.

And don't think that heart rate monitors are just for cardio training either. While that is the form of exercise they are most often utilized with, you can also wear your heart rate monitor while doing circuit training as well.

Keeping your heart rate up during resistance forms of activity is one of the best things that you can do to boost your overall metabolic rate and therefore seeing what your heart rate is at throughout various points in the workout will be incredibly beneficial.

How To Use A Heart Rate Monitor

To use a heart rate monitor, you'll simply wear it on your wrist, or may clip it onto your body depending on the particular model that you happen to be using.

Some cardio equipment machines even come built in with heart rate monitors, so for those who are using them specifically for cardio, you can compare your own heart rate monitor's recording with that one to assess its accuracy.

So there you have all the main points to keep in mind with regards to heart rate monitors. When used correctly and on an ongoing basis with your workout programs, they are definitely one health gadget that can help ensure that you are seeing the best results possible from your gym workout sessions.

About Andy

Andy writes for a number of health related sites but has always been fascinated by alternative medicine and home remedies. His deep interests in nature and the body's innate ability to heal itself (given the right condition) have lead him to a pivotal time in his life - and so, Holistic Home Fitness was born. While it's relatively new at the moment, Andy wants to build this site into a huge reference site for a more holistic approach to health and fitness.