Measuring your heart rate accurately with a heart rate monitor gives you advantages during exercise. You can train through different heart rate zones with more structure and greater efficiency. With most heart rate monitors, you can view and analyze your data with free software or specially designed websites after exercise.
1. Sports watch or smartphone?
Measuring your heart rate during exercise can be done in several ways. The most common way is through the use of a chest strap heart rate sensor. If you use your smartphone during exercise, it is possible to connect your chest strap to your smartphone via Bluetooth. The measurement results are sent to your smartphone with this option that you can view in an application during or after exercise. It is also possible to connect your chest strap to a cycling computer for accurate heart rate reading on the bike. If you prefer to wear a sports watch to keep track of your performance, it is also possible to create a link with a chest strap. If you don’t like to wear a chest strap, but you would like to know your heart rate during exercise, it is also possible to measure your heart rate without a chest strap. However, there are few sports watches on the market that can do this. The heart rate is then integrated into the watch where the measurement takes place on your wrist or on a fingertip.
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2. For what activities can you use a heart rate monitor?
When choosing a heart rate monitor for sports, it is important to know for which activities you want to measure your heart rate. There are watches, with a heart rate monitor, specifically designed for runners, but there are also multi-sport watches that can be used for multiple sports. It is also important to know what you want to measure. As a cyclist, for example, it is important to have a cadence sensor that measures your pedaling, making your cycling performance become clear. For a runner, having a heart rate monitor is a minimum required to improve performance. The most comprehensive sports watches even measure your step height and ground contact time. As a swimmer, it is important to measure your stroke rate and stroke type. And for an outdoor user, features such as a compass, altimeter, temperature sensor, and GPS navigation are important.
3. More than just measuring your pulse?
Often, a sports watch with a heart rate monitor can measure more than just your heart rate, however, this differs per watch. Almost all sports watches are equipped with standard features like a stopwatch and calorie counter and it is possible in some models to measure the altitude or to start interval training. The major differences are found in the specific information you want to get during an activity. If it is important for you to train targeted and effective, then you are looking for a watch that has a heart rate monitor. Want to know how fast, how far, and what route you’ve walked, then you need a sports watch equipped with a GPS sensor. The number of instruments which a sports watch has mainly depends on the price of the model.
4. How can you analyze your performance afterward?
When purchasing a heart rate monitor, it often includes for free software. Any measurement of your heart with the heart rate monitor or sports watch with chest band are sent to the program so you can view and analyze your performance on your computer. By linking your heart rate monitor with a smartphone, your data can also be viewed with an application such as Runkeeper or Endomondo. Additionally, you can also compare your results with your friends using these apps.