Heart rate monitor watches have been gaining popularity ever since they were developed decades ago. Over the years they have become more sophisticated, reliable and most importantly, affordable.
No longer do you have to be tied to a treadmill or be an expert at measuring your own pulse (and then doing the maths!) in order to figure out which training zone you are in.
These great devices allow you to check how hard your heart is working anywhere anytime. It could be on your early morning jog around the block, in gyms that are not equipped with heart rate monitoring devices or cross-training on the Appalachian Trail.
With heart rate monitor watches, its just you, the ground and your heart. There is no easier and better way to have instant access to details about how your body is responding to your exercise routine.
In conjunction with self-discipline and a sound fitness programme, good use of a heart rate monitor watch will improve your fitness surely, steadily and with results that are sure to impress.
How Do Heart Rate Monitors Work?
All heart rate monitors fundamentally work on the fact that the heart generates electrical signals. This is also why during cardiac arrest, electric shocks can be administered externally via a defibrillator to kick-start it in certain cases. (Defibrillators are the devices you see in shows like Gray’s Anatomy and ER where they apply two pads to the chest of patients and shout ‘Clear!’).
There are two underlying technologies used by heart rate monitor watches which allow them to pick up the electrical signals being generated by your body. These are:
- Strapless Heart Rate Monitor Watches
- Wireless Heart Rate Monitor Watches
Strapless Heart Rate Monitor Watches
And this is in fact the great advantage of strapless heart rate monitor watches. There is no need to be lumbered with a chest strap which in the heat of the moment can feel uncomfortable and restricting.
Moreover, if you are anything like me, forgetting to bring your strap means a wireless watch is useless.
So how do strapless heart rate monitor watches work just by themselves. Well, you simply need to put your fingers on sensors on the face of the watch. This is much like the sensors that are on the handle bars of treadmills. They are easy to use and instantly display your heart rate.
The simplest strapless heart rate monitors show the heart rate a the moment you use them. But others are much more sophisticated, highly functional and able to measure data from beginning exercising to ceasing.
For example, the Beurer PM110 heart rate monitor watch is a glove that fits snugly around your hand and measures heart rate from your finger using the very latest technology – giving you results as accurate as its chest strap counterparts.
The viewing angle of the screen means you can easily keep track of your training progress throughout your session. This unique strapless heart rate monitor watch measures time, heart rate and calories burned. It has minimum and maximum heart rate training ranges and includes a stopwatch and alarm.
Regardless, when it comes to ease, convenience, simplicity and usefulness, I could not be happier with my strapless heart rate monitor watch.
Wireless Heart Rate Monitor WatchesOn the other hand (or chest to be precise), wireless heart rate monitor watches consist of two components.
The first is a special signal transmitting strap that is tied around the chest and by means of electrodes picks up signals on the body and transmits data regarding cardiac activity. The receiving device is the monitoring watch.
In the case of analogue wireless heart rate monitoring devices, cross-talk or inteference can occur if you are training in a gym for example where other analogue heart rate monitor users are exercising nearby. This can lead to inaccurate or erratic results being displayed on your device.
Digital wireless heart rate monitors do not suffer from cross-talk issues but cannot interface with gym equipment such as treadmills that are heart rate monitor ready. The technology whilst providing perfect accuracy limits them to communicating specifically with their own wristwatch receiver.