How Heart Rate Monitors Work

How Heart Rate Monitors Work
Exercising in the outdoors gets you unplugged and into the wilderness. With a heart rate monitor, you can track the intensity of your outdoor adventure and maximize your workout.


Heart rate monitors record your pulse, allowing you to adjust your activity level to an intensity that keeps your heart rate at a specific percentage of its maximum for optimum training.


Your heartbeat is created by the heart's muscular contractions. An internal electrical signal initiates these contractions.

Chest Strap

A common monitor design uses a strap that wraps around your chest, aligning closely to your heart. It measures your pulse by using radio waves to detect your heart's electrical activity.

Wrist Receiver

Your monitor may use a receiver that attaches to your wrist like a watch. The receiver displays the information picked up from the chest strap, showing your heart rate.

Added Features

Heart rate monitors also can function as stopwatches and can display calories burned, target training zone and level of water resistance.

Article Written By Kathrine Cole

Kathrine Cole is a professional outdoor educator. She teaches rock climbing, backpacking, cycling, and bike maintenance classes. She is a graduate of the National Outdoor Leadership School, a Wilderness First Responder, and a Leave No Trace Trainer.

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