With colorful little step-tracker gadgets currently dominating the fitness industry, it may seem like heart rate monitors are another mere trend for those starting out in fitness. Sure, they are a good tool for those just picking up some form of exercise, especially running, but are they necessary?
The short answer is no. Obviously, you can still work out and even get fit without a heart rate monitor. However, you may not be getting the most out of each exercise session. This is where heart rate monitors can come in handy.
With a heart rate monitor, you will know your resting heart rate, and can easily discover your maximum heart rate by wearing a monitor while going all out during a workout. In between these two extremes are the numbers you want to focus on. Wearing a heart rate monitor during a less intense workout can help you determine your low intensity heart rate. Conversely, wearing a heart rate monitor during a high intensity workout will give you information on how high your heart rate should be during those more intense exercise days. Once collected, these numbers can be used to optimize your exercise schedule and each individual workout, no matter what fitness level you are at.
For example, let’s say you’re a runner. Heart rate recommendations for fitness runners can help beginners build endurance, and help more experienced runners not slack off during their run. If you’re more of a high intensity interval training type of athlete, you can make sure your heart rate goes to a recommended level during your reps, and does not drop below a recommended resting recovery level. You will find that you’re pushing yourself harder than you ever have before, because a heart rate monitor allows no excuses. Also, in the event that you’re worried about your heart rate going above a certain level, you can make sure it stays steady with a monitor.
Overall, heart rate monitors have the ability to make workouts more efficient and effective. For more information on how to decide on a heart rate monitor, and for heart rate fitness recommendations, check out this great article by REI.
Below, I’ve attached three suggestions of my favorite monitors. Go hard, athletes!
- This Mio LINK Heart Rate Monitor is an inexpensive option, and can sync with fitness applications on your mobile device.
- The Timex Personal Trainer Heart Rate Monitor is affordable and comes with a chest strap for more accurate results.
- The Mio Alpha Rate Monitor Sports Watch is more expensive, but accurate without the chest strap. I’d recommend buying this one if you have some extra money to spend.