If you are trying to lose weight or improve your overall fitness, calorie counters and heart rate monitors are effective tools for tracking your progress and giving focus to your fitness goals. Some individuals may find the visual element of seeing their readings motivating. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than two-thirds of Americans are overweight. This makes these tools important solutions for preventing the health consequences caused by being overweight.
Types of Calorie Counters
Several websites offer online calorie counters, such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture Nutrient Data Laboratory. You can also find fitness websites that will track your nutritional input with additional features such as graphs and reports. Some pedometers also include calorie counters for measuring calories burned by walking or running.
Type of Heart Rate Monitors
Heart rate monitors are available as wristwatch units or a watch combined with a chest strap to monitor heart rate. These monitors will show your heart rate in real time. Some units will allow you to program your target heart rate zone. This is the zone in which you are exercising at the optimal fitness level, explains the University of Maryland Medical Center. Other units may offer more advanced features such as data transfer to your computer or a fitness website.
The primary benefit of both calorie counters and heart rate monitors is that you can obtain concrete numbers regarding your performance. You can then use this information to set specific goals. Having a defined goal gives you a way to gauge your activity. Some people may not be aware of what exercising in their target heart zone feels like. A heart rate monitor can guide your exercise efforts toward the correct level for reaching optimal fitness.
Whether you keep track online or on your computer, it is important to track your data in some fashion. You can use a simple spreadsheet to track your numbers. You can also record your data at an online fitness site or through the manufacturer's website. A 2010 study in the "Journal for Medical Internet Research" found that participants who used interactive websites maintained long-term weight loss with greater success rates. You can then set milestones and goals to keep you motivated.
Using calorie counters and heart rate monitors will help to improve your fitness and help you control your weight. Being overweight can increase your risk of chronic health conditions such as diabetes, warns the National Institutes of Health. Exercise can also help you control your blood pressure by lowering your systolic blood pressure by up to 10 millimeters of mercury. Your systolic blood pressure is the top number on your reading. By using the motivation provided by calorie counters and heart rate monitors, you can lead a healthier life.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Obesity and Overweight
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: Nutrient Data Laboratory
- Journal for Medical Internet Research; Associations of Internet Website Use With Weight Change in a Long-term Weight Loss Maintenance Program; K. Funk et al.
- American Heart Association: Target Heart Rates