A heart rate monitor, or HRM, is a device commonly used by recreational and competitive athletes to track their progress in their workout programs. The tool provides a quick reading of your heart rate while you are training. Although a heart rate monitor can come in handy with exercise, it has other practical applications as well.
In addition to exercise, the HRM can be worn during almost any physical activity, whether it be work or recreation, according to the American College of Sports Medicine. The majority of heart rate monitors are waterproof, so you can even wear them while swimming.
The heart rate monitor has two components: a chest strap and a wrist watch. The chest strap has a transmitter in the center that reads your heart rate and sends a signal to the watch. The higher-grade models also have other features, such as a regular watch, stopwatch, back light, computer link and calorie counter. The calorie counter feature is especially beneficial if you are trying to lose weight. During the course of the day, you can monitor how many calories you burn with your job and other errands, so you'll be better informed in designing your diet plan.
Maximum Heart Rate
When using your heart rate monitor, be aware of your maximum heart rate and aerobic training zone. Your maximum heart rate is used to determine the highest intensity you can exercise, based on age. You will most likely never get to this point during the day, but you need to know it to determine your aerobic training zone. Subtract your age from 220 to get your maximum heart rate. For example, if you are 40 years old, your maximum heart rate is 180. The aerobic training zone is also known as the target heart rate, ranging between 50 and 85 percent of your maximum heart rate, according to the American Heart Association. Using 180 as an example, a target heart rate would be 90 to 153 beats per minute. In this training zone, you're burning calories most efficiently. Once you've determined your target heart rate, you can challenge yourself to stay in it while performing certain activities throughout the day.
If you do not like the idea of wearing a chest strap all day, you have another option. Strapless heart rate monitors consist of nothing but a wrist watch. This type has two small sensors that are activated when you hold them down for several seconds, measuring and displaying your heart rate. This style of HRM is convenient when you are doing everyday chores and are not involved with heavy exercise.
During the course of the day, several factors can alter your heart rate. The time of day, caffeine intake, your stress levels, your hydration level and the temperature can all have an effect.