Ten benefits of heart rate monitors...
• Improved performance – training in your appropriate target heart rate will allow you to progress faster with less wasted effort. I think this is one of the best benefits of heart rate monitors.
• Improved efficiency - maximizing the benefits of exercise in a limited and often less time.
• Increased motivation - tracking of cardiovascular capacity performance in an objective manner and having an accurate measurement of calories burned during every workout.
• Increased knowledge - knowledge of the hearts functions, the effects of stress and health problems on heart rate, and how heart rate varies during training will encourage you to take more responsibility for your own training.
• Accountability - the exercise diary that comes with most heart rate watches will help you be accountable for your own workout.
• Objective training - are you burning fat or are you burning carbohydrates? Training in appropriate heart rate zones takes the guesswork out of your cardiovascular program by customizing the proper exercise intensity for your goals.
• Adaptability - regular measurement and correct interpretation to stress (exercise) allows you to train objectively from your current performance level and state of health.
• Objective Assessment - the heart does not lie! The heart shows the response of the body at any moment in time allowing you to assess intensity and recovery.
• Polar Own Index - using the Polar Own Index allows you to estimate your aerobic capacity without using expensive testing equipment.
• Strength Training - while it is not ideal to measure strength training intensity by heart rate alone, some heart rate monitors measure the proper amount of rest time between sets. The Polar FT80 is one such monitor that will beep to alert you that the heart has recovered enough for the next strength training set.
As you can see there are many benefits of heart rate monitors. Your workouts become more time efficient and safe, intensity can be measured simply and reliably.
Your goals are more easily set and reached, progress or lack of progress toward fitness is easily tracked, motivation to improve increases through greater awareness, and knowledge replaces guesswork.
There are many benefits of heart rate monitors and many different choices, models and colors to choose from. My personal preference is Polar, but there are many other great manufacturers.
I chose Polar after noticing that my local gym uses treadmills and stair steppers for cardio and that these machines use the Polar technology. So, I started my research and found that Polar was the first to introduce the wireless heart rate monitor.
Polar came out with its first patent for measuring heart rate in 1979. It was 1982 when they introduced THE first wireless heart rate monitor.
Polar bases its technology and features on scientific work they perform along with recommendations from leading sports medicine authorities.
The Polar FT series are designed for general fitness use and cross training.
The Polar FT40 Heart Rate Monitor feature will calculate when your training turns from burning fat into fitness improvement.
The FT80 includes a feature that will monitor the recovery period between your strength training sets. It will notify you when it’s time to begin the next set based upon your heart rate recovery.
If you would like to see actual results from fat burning vs. carbohydrate burning while training with my FT80, please read my article on training in different heart rate zones.
I only have one complaint about the FT80. I'm at the age where I now need reading glasses. If I'm training outdoors I can see the display on the FT80 just fine.
However, in a dimly lit gym, I have trouble reading some screens without my reading glasses. Reading my heart rate or what heart rate zone I'm training in isn't the problem. Where I have trouble is on the smaller screens that have a lot information displayed and the writing is small.
Regardless of the model you choose, the benefits of heart rate monitors out weigh the cost of purchasing one.
You get more bang for your buck with Polar and other high end manufacturers. But, I realize that everyone has a budget. If you can afford to spend a little more, then do so.
Train smarter not harder. The heart does not lie.
If you can't afford prevention...