he more data you have, the better you can discern which is the most effective approach to a task. When exercising, you monitor your heart rate because, among other information, it reveals whether you are burning fat or just calories. If you are serious about getting the most out of your workouts, you need a heart rate monitor.
The best heart rate monitor has a chest strap to more accurately track your heart rate and a wrist strap so you can see the data in real time. It also connects to an app so you can save and later evaluate the fitness data collected during your workouts. Because of its ease of use, however, many people are satisfied with having just a wrist monitor and an app.
Basic heart rate monitor function
A heart rate monitor tracks your heart rate and other information related to how hard your body works during exercise.
Such data enables you to determine whether you’re working out in a heart rate zone safe for your body, while also reaching an effort level that boosts your fitness.
When exercising, your heart rate determines whether you’ve reached the optimal effort level.
As the HR monitor provides feedback regarding your heart rate, you understand whether you’re working too fast, too slow, or just right.
Basic heart rate monitor design
Two primary types of heart rate monitor designs exist: chest straps and wrist units. Some models use only one device, while others require pairing the two designs.
Wrist unit alone
Nearly all modern HR monitors use a wrist unit that fits like a wristwatch. With some designs, this wrist unit measures pulse, steps, and other fitness data.
Most people prefer a wrist unit alone because of its simple design. You just put on the wristwatch-like device and begin exercising. However, some people find inaccurate readings with wrist units alone.
Most newer wrist units include a display screen to provide constant and immediate feedback. Some older models have no screen, however.
Chest strap alone
Some HR monitors use a simple chest strap with sensors that connect wirelessly to a smartphone app or a computer. Chest strap HR monitors have existed for several years.
However, you won’t have immediate feedback while working out with a chest strap alone, as the unit has no display screen.
Additionally, some people dislike the chest strap because it’s uncomfortable to wear.
Chest strap with wrist unit
Some heart rate monitor designs use a combination of two sensors that communicate with each other.
The wrist unit makes a wireless connection with the chest strap. The chest strap’s sensors fit just over the person’s heart, allowing for an accurate heart rate measurement.