Have you ever noticed that professional athletes wear heart rate monitors when they train? I figured that since the pros are doing it, there must be a good reason for it. Here are my reasons why I wear one and why you should wear one too:
The Heart is the Most Important Muscle
I’m sure if you have been working out for a while, you are familiar with the concept of resting your muscles (see more in Injury Care)for a few days before you put them through another workout. This is simply because your muscles need to rest and rebuild itself before you can strain it some more. Without adequate rest, you can actually hinder the effectiveness (work harder for less results). Our heart is a very important muscle I want to make sure that I keep tabs on it the entire time I workout to avoid over-training it.
Maximize Effectiveness of Your Workout by Targeting Your Heart Rate
During any workout routine, I know that my heart rate should never exceed 188 beats per minute (BPM), using the Max Heart Rate formula: MaxHR = 205.8 − (0.685 × age). I know that if I am doing cardio, I should be in 65% – 85% of 188 BPM (or between 122 BPM – 160 BPM) to make my workout most effective (reason why). If I am weight lifting, I know that I should be in between 50% – 60% of 188 BPM to make my workout most effective (reason why).
Instantaneous Feedback of What’s Going on in Your Body
If I ran 3 miles today in 25 minutes while maintaining 155 BPM, I know that I will not be able to run the same distance in the same amount of time tomorrow while maintaining 155 BPM. This is because my exhausted muscles will be inefficient at converting resources to energy; thus, requiring more resources to produce the same amount of energy as when the muscles are not fatigued. Because of this, the heart has to do more work to deliver more resources per energy output and it shows in your heart rate.
I find it kind of relaxing to know that I don’t have to worry about how much distance I can cover in a period of time. All I have to do is just maintain my 155 BPM for 30 minutes and I am certain that I am doing what my body is capable of.
Heart rate monitor watches have been proven quite a useful addition to my workouts. Here are a few high rated heart rate monitor watches at different price points:
- Omron HR100C Heart Rate Monitor
- Timex T5G971 Heart Rate Monitor Watch
- Nike Triax C5 Heart Rate Monitor Watch
- Polar F6 Heart Rate Monitor Watch
- Garmin Forerunning 305 GPS Receiver With Heart Rate Monitor
I use the Omron HR-100C because it’s cheap and it does it is supposed to do. People who do a lot of bicycling or running should consider the Garmin Forerunning 305, since it uses GPS to track your distance for you. I mostly exercise at home or at the gym so I have no use for such a fancy heart rate monitor watch.
No matter the price, heart rate monitors are great investments because of what it can do for you if you use it right. It is definitely an exercise equipment with one of the highest return of investment (ROI). So, what are you waiting for? Start using one!