How to Choose a Heart Rate Monitor

How to Choose a Heart Rate Monitor
Heart rate monitors (HRMs) can provide an invaluable aid, because by tracking your pulse they also give you a guide as to both how hard you are working and what kind of physical conditioning you are engaging in. However, as these devices have become more popular, a bewildering variety of them has entered the market, many with highly specialized features. One must keep what they are trying to accomplish in mind at all times when choosing an HRM in order to avoid buying more features than they really need.

Instructions

Difficulty: Easy

Step 1
Think about your workout regimen and determine what you might need from an HRM. For example, a swimmer definitely needs waterproofing. If you are working out for general fitness and weight loss, you need basic heart rate and calorie-counting data. A competitive cyclist, on the other hand, needs serious analysis functions, such as a bike rpm counter, and speed and distance meters.
Step 2
Limit your choices to HRMs that have computer-download options if you need a truly complicated, features-packed device. Most of these will wirelessly transmit data to your computer whenever they come within range of it, and the matching software on your computer will help create a detailed analysis of what happened during prior training sessions. This function is easier than crunching those numbers by hand.
Step 3
Consider accessories. Competitive cyclists and runners, for example, will probably need a foot or bike pod for their GPS-based directional, distance and speed features. Athletes looking for exacting heart rate measurements will want a chest strap sensor rather than a simple wrist-contact unit.
Step 4
Decide upon your budget. Necessary features and how much you can pay are the basis for choosing a HRM. If the HRMs with all your necessary features are too expensive, it is a good sign you need to either reconsider what is "necessary" or revise your budget upward.

Tips & Warnings

 
Polar, Garmin and Suunto are the three major manufacturers that make the advanced, features-packed HRMs. However, there are a variety of other companies in the HRM business. A Timex, for example, might prove a better choice for a basic HRM at a reasonable price. The bottom line is to let features and price dictate your list of choices and worry about brand names afterward.
 
Polar, Garmin and Suunto are the three major manufacturers that make the advanced, features-packed HRMs. However, there are a variety of other companies in the HRM business. A Timex, for example, might prove a better choice for a basic HRM at a reasonable price. The bottom line is to let features and price dictate your list of choices and worry about brand names afterward.

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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