Check Your Pulse…
Safety must be of primary concern when you exercise, especially when your cardio-vascular system is being put to the test. Aerobic exercise is most effective when the “target heart rate” is achieved, and monitoring the heart rate during exercise insures that you stay within a safe and healthy range. The Mayo Clinic online provides a convenient target heart rate calculator; all you have to do is enter your age. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/target-heart-rate/SM00083
Today’s heart rate monitors provide an alarm to notify you when you have gone above the safe limit. Although you can take your pulse manually, a heart rate monitor can provide an integral part of your fitness regimen, and is a good way to stay safe and track your fitness performance. There are many brands and styles to choose from and you probably have some of the following concerns about spending your money on this type of technology:
- Can it double as a wrist watch?
- Do I have to wear an additional accessory?
- Does it have advanced fitness functions like calorie counter?
- Can it interface with my home computer?
- Is it waterproof?
- Does it have watch functions like stopwatch and alarm?
As you may have guessed, the concept of “you get what you pay for” also applies to heart rate monitors. The cheaper models offer economy in addition to their many features, but customer reviews reveal that they can be slow, problematic, and inaccurate. As monitors increase in price, they typically include a chest strap that relays to the wrist unit. Even though a chest strap may seem uncomfortable, this setup provides the most accurate data and the best overall functionality. Chest straps are generally very lightweight and do not interfere with equipment such as bench press barbels.
Polar FT7 wrist unit. Includes data transmission capability. $85 + $45 for the optional PC USB receiver unit.
The household name in the heart rate monitor world is Polar, makers of heart monitor products since 1977. Monitors are available for specific fitness activities across a reasonable price range. They also offer a data transmission accessory for PC or Mac interface. It transmits live data wirelessly, and uses a free website-based software application for analyzing workout data and creating journals on the Polar site. Several of Polar’s high-end products have advanced fitness tracking functions and programming features. They also double as chronometers and some even have stopwatch capability. Polar is based in Finland, and is a worldwide provider of heart rate monitor products. In addition to product information, they offer coaching and links to athletes and organizations that use Polar computer training. http://www.polar.fi/en