A Heart Rate Monitor or HRM, as it is often referred to, is a device to measure the rate of your heart beat while running or during other similar workouts. It is essential because understanding the heart rate during exercises let you to realize the extent of physical strain you are putting your body through, which further ensures that you are indeed burning the requisite amount of calories during your stay at the gym. In other words, running at pre-set heart rate training zones facilitates that your workout is consistently at optimal intensity, something that is crucial for good results. Without monitoring your heart rates – maximum heart rate, rest heart rate, and factors influencing the heart rate – irrespective of how hard or little you exercise, it won’t bring about any solid results. The third factor mentioned above – factors influencing the heart rate – is very vital for better workout efficiency because it has been discovered that heart rates vary as much as 5-10 beats per minute between morning and afternoon. Dehydration and temperature are other factors that affect your heart rate in a big way. You cannot get to know any of these aspects without having a suitable heart rate monitor at your disposal. Having said that much, in addition to using a heart rate monitor, it is also important to know how to use it to your full advantage.
The next question would be, how does one choose a heart rate monitor that is effective and fitting to your requirements?
That question heralds a lot of importance because there are a vast number of choices of heart rate monitors available on the market, in different sophistications and makes, and at different price ranges. Heart rate monitors available at fitness stores range from the one that simply shows the heart rate alone to the ones with more branched out sophistications such as the ones that measures the calories burnt, that memorizes the various workout parameters, the ones with audible indicators, and those with and without chest straps. From the common person’s point of view, it is all about choosing the heart rate monitor that exactly suits his/her requirements and budget. After all, why buy a heart rate monitor with all those bells and whistles if they are of no use to you?
Ideally, if you are a beginner, it is better to buy a simple heart rate monitor that measures only the heart rate and nothing else. It is always best to make things more simple in the beginning. For somebody who is an athlete or wants to build his/her fitness levels to new heights, it may become necessary to observe other attributes as well, and for such people an intermediate heart rate monitor will be better. Such heart rate monitors will have other features such as memory, a calculator, etc. If you are a thorough professional, for whom daily workouts are a part of your job, go for the top end device. For about $200, one can get heart rate monitors that are PC compatible and operating system/software driven. But, whichever type of heart rate monitor you are going to get, always go for the trusted brands such as Mio, Reebok, Polar or Life Source. There are other fancy items available on the market, but it is advisable to avoid such duplicates or substandard ones.
Tail Piece: While purchasing heart rate monitors, always look for the ones which are easy to use. The more buttons, submenus and functionalities, the more difficult it will be to retrieve or set the parameters that are required. Learning to use the device itself might take some time in such cases.