How Effective is a Heart Rate Monitor?

A heart rate monitor or HRM wristwatch is the perfect tool to give you accurate information about your cardiovascular system, helping you reach your fitness goals. Additionally, the numbers from your HRM give you a clear picture of your overall health, thereby taking you closer to a healthier and fitter you.

If you were to ask any physical trainer, they would let you know that “Fitness isn’t just about exercising. It’s all about the intensity of the exercise.” If you are looking to tone up, lose weight, build muscles, improve resistance or any other reason – then you need to choose workouts that boost your heart rate. And, an HRM aka heart rate monitor is the best way to track it.

Is an HRM Fitness Tracker Effective?

According to fitness experts and doctors, your resting heart rate plays a crucial role in determining your overall health and future health. One of the easiest ways to monitor your heart rate regularly is to get an HRM tracker.

The two popular styles of HRMs are chest-straps and wrist-watch styles, optical HRMs. HRM chest straps use an elastic band that is secured around your chest, and an electrode pad rests on your skin. They use ECG signals to record your heart rate.

On the other hand, optical HRMs use PPG (Photoplethysmography). This is a process of measuring blood flow using light. These HRMs have small LEDs that shine green light onto your wrist and based on the differences in the wavelengths of these lights, and along with the accelerometer in the device, it measures your heart rate.

Answering the Accuracy Question

While it’s true that chest-strap HRMs offer more accurate readings, wrist-style HRMs are pretty reliable too. If the strap is too high or too low on your wrist, then you are likely to get inaccurate readings. The technology used in wrist-style HRM trackers has improved over the years, and the readings are accurate if you position the strap securely on your wrist.

While choosing an HRM, look for wristbands that fit snugly on your wrist, without moving too much for reliable readings.

Here are the Top Benefits of Getting an HRM:

1.       Track if you are Dehydrated

Did you know that your heart rate can increase if you are dehydrated? If you notice that you feel dizzy when you sit up and stand quickly, and your HRM shows an increase, then it can indicate you may be dehydrated.

The next time you feel light-headed after spending hours in front of your system, then you know what the reason is – reach for a glass of water.

2.       Avoid Getting Stuck in a Workout Rut

Are you stuck in a fitness rut? As you do your daily workouts, if you find the numbers dropping on your HRM, then it means that your heart has become stronger and you are burning lesser calories than usual.

If you see the numbers dropping after doing the same exercise for a few weeks, it means that your body has adapted to the workout and it’s time to mix it up. Increase the intensity, add extra sets or squeeze some high-intensity interval training.

An HRM is the best way to ensure that you don’t get stuck in a rut, during your workouts. It helps you to keep on challenging your body in new ways.

3.       It Acts as Your Personal Coach

An HRM can help you monitor your progress during a workout. The readings on the dial help you know whether you should – increase your intensity, slow down or continue at the same pace. This information is highly crucial, especially when you are trying to reach personal fitness goals like losing weight and so on.

4.       Get the Most Out of Your Workout Sessions

You would have heard the phrase, “Knowledge is Power.” An HRM provides you with all key data so that you know what to do exactly. Once you’ve identified the maximum heart rate, look to stay within 74 to 84% of that number if you are a beginner. If weight loss is your goal, then achieving 85 to 94% of your maximum heart rate in 12 to 20-minute workouts is the best way to kick off those extra kilos.

5.       Improve your Cardiovascular Fitness Levels

Tracking your heart beat during a workout helps you to push your body in a controlled manner, thereby improving your cardiovascular system progressively. Remember, that different bodies work differently. So, what works for your gym partner may not be the best for you. With a heart rate monitor, you can train at the ideal level that is perfectly suited for your specific goals.

Which Style to Choose?

While chest-strap HRMs are accurate, they are quite inconvenient. Unless you are a professional athlete, a regular wrist-strap HRM works well enough for casual users. Make sure that you pick one that is durable and has adjustable straps, so that it can fit snugly on your wrist, without constricting the flow of blood.

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