Taking the Pulse
Without a heart rate monitor (HRM), the only way for an athlete to collect heart rate data is to take his own pulse, either at the neck or wrist. Doing this accurately is an awkward problem in the middle of a workout.
HRMs eliminate the inaccuracy and guesswork of taking a pulse. Through direct contact with the skin, they read the pulse and provide heart rate data in real time.
In addition to their basic heart rate reading capabilities, these devices usually also have other functions. Clocks (including stopwatch timers), calorie-burning estimators, storage of heart rate data and presentation in charts, GPS, radios and waterproofing are common features.
Any athlete in a sport that requires plenty of "wind" -- intense cardiovascular conditioning -- will find a HRM useful in training. This includes sprinters and distance runners, cyclists, swimmers, boxers, and soccer and basketball players.
There are two formats for HRMs. The first is wrist-mounted and worn like a watch, and the second is strapped around the chest and worn underneath a shirt (if a shirt is worn). In both cases, the monitor must make direct contact with the skin.
The maximum heart rate--or top number of beats per minute the heart can manage--declines by an average of one beat per minute with every year of age.
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.