Monitoring Heart Rate: What, When, How and Why
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  • Nov 12, 2012

    Monitoring Heart Rate: What, When, How and Why

    Whether you’re running your first 5K, training for an Ironman or just trying to lose that last 10 pounds, monitoring your heart rate is an important part of reaching your health and fitness goals. Heart rate (HR) data provides an inside look at how hard and how efficient your heart is working. Below is a breakdown on HR data, uses and monitoring devices.

    Why monitor heart rate?
    Heart rate is a great tool for athletes of all abilities. Using heart rate monitors users can see their heart rate in real-time, providing valuable info on workout intensity and current heart rate zone. Heart rate data coupled with information regarding weight and age, will also provide the most accurate calorie burn data, making it a must for calorie counting and dieting.

    What is heart rate measuring?
    Heart Beats Per Minute (BPM). If your heart rate is high, it means your heart is working or pumping harder and your blood is circulating at a faster pace. The BPM is an easy way to gauge how healthy and efficient your heart is operating.

    How do you monitor heart rate?
    Heart rate is monitored using a body-worn device that allows the user to measure heart rate in real-time. Most heart rate monitors are worn around the chest and transmit heart rate data to an ANT+ display device such as a watch, cell phone, fitness equipment or activity monitor. Other types of monitors such as finger sensors, earlobe sensors, or the hand contact sensors on fitness equipment may also be used to transmit heart rate data. ANT+ technology consistently allows health and fitness devices to seamlessly communicate data in real-time, giving users the most accurate, up to date and reliable data possible.

    What devices do I need to monitor my heart rate?
    ANT+’s technology allows for hundreds of devices to seamlessly communicate health monitoring data in real-time, delivering it directly to you on a wrist watch, smartphone, treadmill or activity monitor. To find what devices fit your needs check out the ANT+ Product Directory at Search by activity, sensors, brand name and device compatibility.

    What are the best uses for heart rate data?
    The First Timers – Motivation is the key to staying on course with any health and fitness plan. By monitoring your heart rate as you participate in an aerobic activity, you’ll discover that you will be able to exercise at a higher level of intensity, but at the same or lower heart rate. This is the way the heart tells you it is becoming stronger and more efficient. Studies show positive results, motivate athletes to strive for even better results.

    Triathletes and Runners – Heart rate zones are used by running and triathlete coaches, among others, to structure not only specified training sessions, but entire workout plans. Triathletes and marathoners need to know what zone their heart rate is in at all times to determine effort, energy exertion, etc. Whether training for a race or just monitoring a training session, runners, cyclists, triathletes, Crossfit athletes and more can benefit from the information heart rate analysis can provide. 

    Data Junkies  - Heart rate is an important part of any post-training analysis or workout adjustment and is one of the most accurate ways to assess progress in your training. Running at a faster pace, but at a lower heart rate than in the past, is an instant sign that you are becoming a stronger runner.

    People with Heart Conditions – Constantly monitoring heart rate keeps you aware of your body’s condition even in the most stressful of physical activities. Knowing drops and spikes in heart rate can help prevent overheating and/or overworking your body. Many health professionals use heart rate as a major treatment/monitoring tool for people struggling with obesity, heart failure and COPD.


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