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Choosing a heart rate monitor



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DMARTIN302
SparkPoints: (47,778)
Fitness Minutes: (38,971)
Posts: 91
2/10/13 10:19 P

In my family, we've used Polar and Garmin watches and love them. I use a different solution. If you have a smart phone, you can purchase a Zephyr heart rate monitor chest strap that communicates via Bluetooth to an app on your phone. A number of free apps are available out there; I like SportsTrackLive and Endomondo. There's a pro version that opens a few more features and reports for around $5 each. There must be at least a dozen apps to choose from. As far as accuracy goes, I've compared them to the Polar and Garmin watch and they give nearly identical results.

The Zephyr chest strap is about $79 (and the apps usually have a $5 discount code that you can use). Polar also has a Bluetooth chest strap that works with the same apps. The Zephyr is very comfortable to wear. It doesn't use replaceable batteries, instead it recharges via a USB port. Charges last about 30 days or so. One nice thing about using a smart phone as the GPS/HRM device is that I can choose the software with an interface I like. Phone apps have frequent updates with new features which is unlikely with watches. I use a little Amphipod waist pack to put my phone in when I exercise and it rides on the small of my back and doesn't bother me a bit.

Not only is my phone my GPS/HRM device, it's also my MP3 player and can be used as a phone in case of emergency. Another neat feature that watches don't have is that it will give me voice feedback as I run, telling me my pace, distance, heart rate, and cadence every so often (user selected by distance or number of minutes or both). I don't have to look down at my wrist or attempt to dig out my phone.

It's one more alternative in the myriad of options for HRMs. It may or may not be something you'd want to consider.



WHOVIAN85
Posts: 861
2/10/13 8:50 A

I have the polar ft4, with the chest strap and love it. If your wanting something that tracks all your activity throughout the day you may want a bodyfit or bodymedia thingy. I however like the simplicity of my heart rate monitor and how accurate a reading I get from it. Ill never buy another brand outside of polar again.



PSCHIAVONE2
SparkPoints: (15,964)
Fitness Minutes: (9,421)
Posts: 490
2/10/13 8:44 A

I also like the Polar brands. I have upgraded recently to the FT60. I like how I can download my workouts and get tracking online.



GLH1980
SparkPoints: (6,021)
Fitness Minutes: (3,951)
Posts: 278
2/10/13 7:37 A

I have the Polar FT4 and LOVE it! It's a great HRM. You do need to use the chest strap. I previously had a watch only HRM from New Balance. It was a complete waste of money. It did not give an accurate measurement of my calorie burn. The watch requires you to tap it to get your heart rate. It doesn't give a continuous reading like the chest strap in the Polar HRMs. I highly recommend the FT4 or any other Polar HRM.



KRISTEN_SAYS
SparkPoints: (73,297)
Fitness Minutes: (34,635)
Posts: 5,088
2/9/13 10:50 P

I have the Polar FT4, and I love it and highly recommend it. Yes, you have to use the chest strap if you want an estimate for calories burned for your exercise. At first it's a little annoying but you'll get used to it. Fitbits and little gadgets like that are geared more towards giving you an estimate of how many calories you burn through everyday activity. A heart rate monitor is only supposed to be used during cardio.



MUSCATDBQ
SparkPoints: (3,428)
Fitness Minutes: (1,664)
Posts: 214
2/9/13 10:10 P

I have a Polar ft7 which Ive been using for two weeks now and love. It has user replaceable batteries as well, so no waiting for it to be sent in and returned. It uses normal watch batteries. I love that it is ok to use in water and I don't even feel the chest strap once it is on.

Edited by: MUSCATDBQ at: 2/9/2013 (22:11)


WHOLENEWME79
Posts: 919
2/9/13 9:40 P

I'm with Coach Nancy- I just LOVE my Polar F6. Best $100 I ever spent. I find the chest strap to be comfortable and I really don't feel it when I work out. I also think the watch/wrist band looks stylish and I appreciate the color options. I can enter my age, weight and sex and the chest strap measures my heart rate during exercise to calculate my calories burned. If I forget the watch for some reason, many fitness machines will pick up the signal and use the strap to calculate calories and heart rate, which is nice. When my battery ran out I just did that for a few weeks while I waited for my watch to come back with the new battery.

There are so many options out there be sure to do a little research to find out about what options you might want and price range.

Best of luck.





SP_COACH_NANCY
SparkPoints: (158,833)
Fitness Minutes: (112,042)
Posts: 46,222
2/9/13 8:55 P

Hi AIREEULL,

I love the Polar Brand and you can't go wrong there, but know that it is not the same device like a FitBit or Bodymedia which tracks your calories expended throughout the day. A HRM is designed to only be worn when doing cardio based activity--it uses an algorthim using your data--age, weight, gender, etc. It's not to be used to track any activity outside formal exercise.

I hope this helps!

Coach Nancy



AIREEULL
SparkPoints: (7,103)
Fitness Minutes: (4,610)
Posts: 339
2/9/13 8:28 P

i am wanting to purchase a heart rate monitor but i want to make sure i am getting a good one because these things aren't cheap. the one i am looking at is a polar FT4. its got good reviews, however it comes with a chest strap. is a chest strap necessary? can it detect my heart rate and calories burned if i just wear the watch? also, do heart rate monitors work while doing daily activities? i am curious to how many calories i burn while i am at work since i'm on my feet a lot during the day. any other suggestions for heart rate monitors? thanks!



 
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