Definition of Heart Rate Monitors

Definition of Heart Rate Monitors
The old way of keeping an eye on heart rate during exercise was to take the pulse, either on the neck or the wrist. That was cumbersome and distracting, and often not very accurate. The heart rate monitor was invented to help athletes take the hassle and guesswork out of that measurement.


Heart rate monitors are devices that allow a person to keep an eye on how fast their heart is beating in real time. Some can record heart rate data for later study. More sophisticated (and expensive) products can measure the quantity and quality of body movement while others include features such as a global positioning system, tracking speed, elevation and distance, or a calorie burner.

Chest Unit

One type of heart rate monitor consists of a device and chest strap. It is worn under a shirt, needing direct contact with the skin to function.

Wrist Unit

There are also wrist-mounted units, worn just like a watch. In fact, some are watches. Garmin has a waterproof model that a triathlete can take on swims or an outdoors enthusiast can bring on kayak or rowing excursions.

Support Products

To get the best results, these devices usually need a liquid aid applied to the skin, providing a good sensor contact. An example is Chestlick spray, which ensures that a monitor can accurately receive the signal.


Heart rate monitors are useful to certain athletes because it gives them a statistical means of measuring how hard their cardiovascular system is working. When an athlete notices his heart rate dropping, he knows he isn't working as hard or his conditioning is improving.


Road and mountain bike racers, runners and just about anyone in a cardio-intensive sport can make good use of a heart rate monitor in training.

Article Written By Edwin Thomas

Edwin Thomas has been writing since 1997. His work has appeared in various online publications, including The Black Table, Proboxing-Fans and others. A travel blogger, editor and writer, Thomas has traveled from Argentina to Vietnam in pursuit of stories. He holds a Master of Arts in international affairs from American University.

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