The basic, primary function of a heart rate monitor is to make taking the pulse easy and accurate. Without a heart rate monitor, an athlete wanting to take his own pulse rate must check at the neck or wrist and make his own count, an awkward procedure in the midst of an intense workout.
The key advantage of a heart rate monitor is that it offers an easy-to-read number instantly and in real time. With that, the wearer becomes instantly aware that they are on track, working too hard or not working hard enough.
Most heart rate monitors are worn like wristwatches, and take the pulse from contact with the wrist. However, many of these come with straps and can also be worn as chest units, and there a few that are chest-only units.
Heart rate monitors typically have additional features that are generally useful or tailored to meet particular athletic needs. Examples include chronographs, GPS receivers, radio receivers and calorie counters.
Who Needs One?
The sports that make the most use of heart rate monitors are the ones that are very cardio-intensive. For example, cyclists and runners would certainly benefit from using a heart rate monitor, while a power weightlifter would find one less useful.
As humans age, their maximum heart rate declines. The norm is to lose one beat per minute from the maximum each year.
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.