Heart Rate Monitor Buying Guide
Used properly, a heart rate monitor may help you stay in your target heart rate zone while exercising, so you can safely focus on burning fat or improving your cardiovascular fitness. Heart rate monitors are also used by people with certain health conditions, to track their heart rate throughout the day. Choose from simple heart rate monitors that just measure your pulse in beats per minute to advance models that keep a history of readings and track data like irregular heartbeats, and average and maximum heart rates. Some monitors even offer display text in multiple languages including English, German, French, and Spanish.
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Tips for Buying a Heart Rate Monitor
- Monitor type and size. While heart rate monitors vary in size and functionality, many look and function like a wrist watch. Finger and wrist units are rapidly growing in popularity since they’re portable and ease to use. Note the size of the operating buttons and how easily you can read the display since both will have a big impact on your ability to use the heart rate monitor.
- Where to wear. Many heart rate monitors include a chest strap you must wear to send a wireless signal to the monitor on your wrist. Other heart rate monitors attach to your wrist or finger where your pulse may be counted through the skin. It’s up to you what you find most comfortable, although some believe chest straps are most accurate.
- What do you want to know? Sports and fitness heart rate monitors include calorie counters, stopwatches, timers, workout summaries, and target heart rate indicators. Many monitors also offer irregular heart beat detection and averaging functions that help you get a feel for how your heart is doing over time. Note that some heart rate monitors even interface with exercise equipment or computer software to give you more detail.
- Remember the memory function. Many heart rate monitors save results by date and time, some for more than one user. More advanced monitors connect to your computer so you can easily chart your heart measurements and share them with your doctor or personal trainer.
- Consider the power source. Check which types of batteries a heart rate monitor takes and make sure you can replace them yourself. Look for features such as power-saving modes and low-battery indicators. And if you’re going to wear your heart rate monitor near water or in the rain, consider getting one that’s water resistant or waterproof.
- Multi-media devices. Look for technologies that may synch a heart rate monitor with other devices, like GPS sports watches, pedometers, and mp3 players. Some heart rate monitors are designed for cyclists to attach to their bikes. You may find online user reviews helpful when choosing a device combined with a heart rate monitor.
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Read Other Heart Health Buying Guides
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