A heart rate monitor is a compact device that monitors the state of your heart.
A heart rate monitor can be worn on the wrist like a watch, or strapped around the chest.
If you are athletically inclined a heart rate monitor can provide valuable information on the state of your heart during and after workouts.
8 Benefits Of Heart Rate Monitors
The following are the most important benefits of heart rate monitors as determined by our panel of health experts.
1: Heart rate monitors let you keep an eye on your heart rate.
They allow you to stay on top of cardiovascular performance (1) and let you know when you may be pushing things a bit. The information provided by the heart rate monitor will enable you to get more from your workouts and do so without putting your health at risk. Sure, you could always get a pretty accurate read on your heart rate by checking your pulse manually (2). But to do so, you’d need to stop what you’re doing for a minute or two. And that is going to interfere with the flow of your workout.
2: Heart rate monitors are like personal trainers.
Having a heart rate monitor watch tracking your cardiovascular performance in real-time is like having a personal trainer standing next to you on the treadmill. The role of the trainer is to provide feedback, guidance, and motivation. All things the heart rate monitor watch or app are great at. You’ll be able to make both short and long term adjustments to your workout based on the feedback the monitor is providing. And you’ll be motivated to even better results during future workout sessions.
3: Heart rate monitors eliminate stop and go workouts.
We touched on this a moment ago, but it warrants some more discussion. In the not too distant past, if you wanted to know your heart rate while you were exercising you had to stop and check your pulse. In theory, this would give you the information you needed. In theory. In fact, as soon as you stopped exercising, your heart began to slow down. Not a lot. But enough to affect the reading. On top of that, stopping and starting during an exercise routine is not a good idea. In fact, it can be downright counterproductive (3). Also, it’s not always easy to talk oneself into starting back up again.
4: Heart rate monitors let you find your cardio sweet spot.
You can determine that optimal range in a number of ways. The NIH is a fantastic resource for heart rate data (4). Should you want a more personal approach, your doctor can help you determine your optimal heart rate. Whichever route you choose, knowing the correct range for your body will enable you to guide yourself to that workout sweet spot where physical progress lies.
5: Heart rate monitors are great motivators.
While some people don’t have a problem motivating themselves, most of us tend to find ways to avoid things we find unpleasant. And working out, especially if you haven’t done it in a long time, can be pretty unpleasant at first. A heart rate monitor can provide the kick in the pants a person needs to get beyond excuse-making (5) and take action. Being able to see in real-time the effect physical exertion has on your ticker is a deceptively powerful experience. It can and often does cause people to start thinking about the health of their body. And not just the state of their career.
6: Heart rate monitors allow you to track your progress over time.
Most of the better heart rate monitors store a week or more of data you can refer back to. In some cases, the information will be available right on your heart rate monitor watch. In other cases, it will be available through a smartphone app. This historical data enables you to see how your cardiovascular efficiency has improved over time. Or not improved over time if that is the case. Either way, having this information at your fingertips can help you devise productive but attainable goals moving forward. And setting goals is crucial to long term success (6).
7: Heart rate monitors enable more effective workouts.
But before you take to the road or the CrossFit box it’s suggested you take a stress test (7). This will allow you to determine your current cardiovascular situation and establish a maximum heart rate. You can then plug the resulting data into your heart rate monitor watch or app and use it to enable highly effective workouts. At the same time, if the data coming from your heart rate monitor indicates you’re putting too much stress on your heart, you’ll be able to ratchet things back in a controlled manner.
8: Heart rate monitors are a smart choice.
If you spend any time at the health club you’ll see lots of people working out. Some look like they’re ready to take on the world. Others look like they’re counting the minutes until they can leave. A lot of times, people don’t get anything from their workouts simply because they have no measuring stick. A heart rate monitor can provide that measuring stick. And if you’re thinking you might look a bit silly wearing one keep in mind that they’ve become pretty much standard gear for everyone from corporate execs to presidents (8). If it’s good enough for them, it’s probably good enough for you.
Heart rate monitors are affordable, accurate and safe. They provide vital information on the state of your most important muscle while also helping you engage in more effective workouts and monitor your progress over time. If you’re physically active, consider adding a heart rate monitor to your workout kit.