Benefits of Heart Rate Technology
Why Should I Track My Heart Rate?
Heart rate monitors have been on the market since 1983, so they’re not exactly a new concept. However, over the last few decades heart rate monitoring technology has continued to evolve from a fun accessory to completely changing how you work out. It can even answer the age old question- “why am I not seeing results?!”
But before you run out and buy the first heart rate monitor you can find, there are some important questions to ask. What are the benefits of heart rate monitors? Are they really worth it? Why should I track my heart rate? What model should I use? Whether you’re new to heart rate technology or are looking for a new model to incorporate into your workout, we’ve broken down the basics here.
<h2> The Heart of the Matter
Do you ever wonder why you’re breathless after a 10 minute workout and someone else can run a marathon and barely sweat? (Well, probably not barely- but you get the idea) Are they working harder than you are? The answer comes down to your heart.
Your heart rate is measured by the amount of times it beats per minute, and tracking your heart rate allows you to see how hard your heart is working both during your workouts and during periods of rest. Since your heart is a muscle, it becomes stronger as you exercise it. If you track your heart rate you can both gauge the effectiveness of your workout thus strengthen your body and your heart at the same time.
Since heart rates vary for every person, the right heart rate model is going to be unique to each person as well. Before we get into the different types available, it’s important to understand the four different types of heart rates:
- Resting Heart Rate- the rate your heart beats per minute when you are relaxed. This can be determined right when you wake up or anytime your body is at rest.
- Maximum Heart Rate - the rate your heart beats when you’ve pushed your heart as far as it can currently go. This can be determined during an aerobic workout.
- Training Heart Rate- the heart rate you maintain during workouts when trying to improve your fitness. To determine the correct heart rate range for this, consult with a professional.
- Recovery Heart Rate- the rate you bring your heart rate down to following a workout.
<h2> How do heart rate monitors work?
Chest strap heart monitors measure your heart rate with a transmitter that detects electrical activity, similar to an ECG machine. Wrist- based heart rate monitors use optical technology, which sends light into the skin and reads the light coming back in to track your pulse.
In retrospect, electrical based heart monitors do tend to be more accurate. Taking a reading from a wrist or an arm during a workout can be more difficult because it’s a part of the body that moves a lot during activity, affecting the accuracy of the data reading.
Understanding when you should be in each zone during your workout allows you to work out smarter. Your body is unique, which means your workout should be unique! So what are the best heart rate monitors on the market? Here are a few of the most popular heart rate models:
The Fitbit is a fitness tracker that currently comes in 7 models. Fitbit models combine heart rate monitoring with sleep tracking, step tracking, and allows you to monitor everything via a smartphone app.
The Fitbit is a great tool for tracking your overall health, however since they use optical technology, there’s a possibility it may not be as accurate for tracking your heart rate.
<h3> Apple Watch
The Apple Watch is available in 3 models, but only the most recent model, the Series 4, features an electric heart sensor that comes with an ECG app available for download. Otherwise all the other models feature an optical heart rate sensor.
Myzone wearable heart rate technology comes in two models- the MZ-1 and the MZ-3. Each uses wireless and cloud technology to monitor physical activity. They monitor heart rate, calories and time exercising that convert into Myzone Effort Points (MEPs), with a focus on rewarding effort.
If you’re interested in switching up your heart rate technology or picking up a monitor for the first time, check with a professional trainer at your Snap Fitness gym! They’ll be able to give you a recommendation on the best heart rate monitor for your fitness journey- and don’t forget to set up a personal training session to start utilizing your heart rate technology in a way that’s custom to you.
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