Heart Rate Monitors
Heart rate monitors (“HRM”) are not only for professional athletes. To get the most out of exercise, monitoring your intensity (or heart rate) throughout your workout will ensure that you’re working within your ideal heart rate training zone. Working too hard could lead to burnout while not working hard enough can lead to frustration when you don’t see results.
Most HRM consists of two parts: the chest strap (transmitter) and the watch (receiver). The chest strap detects electronic signals your heart makes when it beats and transmits this information wirelessly to the watch.
To get the maximum benefit of your workouts, you should work within your target heart zones (usually between 70% and 85% of your maximum heart rate). The simplest way to calculate your maximum heart rate is 220 minus your age. For example, if you are 32 years old, your maximum heart rate is approximately 188 (220 – 32). If you want to exercise at an intensity level of between 70% and 85% of your maximum heart rate (the target heart zone), this equates to between 132 and 160 beats per minute.
The most basic HRM start at around $100 while the more sophisticated ones sell for around $800. You can even buy ones that can transmit your heart rate to your smartphones. If you’re trying to lose weight, consider buying one which calculates the number of calories burned.