Heart Rate Monitor

by John
(Elgin, IL)

People are often curious what the best fitness tool is for them to monitor their fitness progress and to keep themselves accountable during their cardio workouts. It is nice to have a trainer standing beside you to push you and motivate you, but most people can not afford to hire a trainer for every one of their workouts. But there is an option: invest in a heart rate monitor. You can purchase them for under $100, and the monitor is like having a virtual personal trainer by your side!

The best heart rate monitors come with a chest band that is a transmitter. You secure the transmitter around your rib cage, and this band has sensors that monitor your heart's electrical activity. The display part of the heart rate monitor is usually a wristwatch style that makes it easy to wear while you are doing physical activity.

Because the transmitter and the display are wireless, it is worth while to spend a little bit of extra money on a locked monitor. This means that your monitor will not get its wireless signals crossed with another monitor if someone close to you is also wearing a heart rate monitor.

If you work out in a gym this would likely happen if you don't purchase the locked version. But if you run outside you should be okay with just buying the basic version. It is unlikely that your wireless signals would get crossed with someone else's outside unless your running partner has a heart monitor too!

To set it up, the monitor will prompt you to enter your age, weight, and sometimes your goals or current level of fitness. Then the fun begins! You can set the monitor to help you improve your running workouts or use it to improve your time if you are doing marathon training. The heart rate monitor will beep if your heart rate goes below or above a certain percentage of your maximum beats per minute. This is very useful for people who do circuit training, and who are trying to reach their anaerobic threshold.

The anaerobic threshold is reached when the person's heart rate is at 90 to 95 percent of their maximum heart rate. It is very difficult to push yourself that hard without having a trainer, or the heart rate monitor, telling you to work harder!
Monitors also usually have a timer and stopwatch so that you can time your interval training, and they normally have a clock function so that you can know what time it is.

An Example Heart Rate Monitor Workout

You can set your monitor to beep if your heart rate goes above or below a certain level. For this example, if you want to go for a running workout and stay at above 70% of your maximum heart rate, you can enter that information into your monitor, along with a 5 minute warm up. For the first five minutes of your workout, you can go at whatever pace you like to warm up. After that, the monitor beeps if your heart rate is below 70%.

This is very effective for when you feel like slowing down, that little beep is like your own trainer telling you to push yourself! A heart rate monitor is a great investment for anyone serious about improving their fitness level!

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