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Heart rate monitors -- worth it?



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MOTIVATED@LAST
Posts: 14,028
3/18/13 5:24 A

One other point that can get overlooked in all of this.

Ultimately, your workout burns what it burns. To burn more, you actually need to WORKout harder, or faster or longer. Merely measuring it more accurately doesn't increase the calorie burn, or help with weight loss.

DO, or do not. There is no measure.



SPOORK
Posts: 1,193
3/17/13 8:01 P

Not worth it for me. I have one that came with my Garmin Forerunner and never use it. For me, it's a hassle to wear it and the output is always similar (unless it's very hot out) to what the estimate is on here or on my Garmin.



LYNHALTINER
SparkPoints: (26,289)
Fitness Minutes: (35,421)
Posts: 603
3/17/13 6:15 P

Love my heart rate monitor



STDWYNWEN
SparkPoints: (11,072)
Fitness Minutes: (4,491)
Posts: 549
3/17/13 3:45 P

Hi PIPPISMILES

For me it was worth it.
I'm a software developer, one of the first valuable things I learned in my professional life was 'Know Your Data', otherwise you're just flying blind.

I learned the lesson again after I joined SparkPeople. I didn't start consistently losing until I tracked my food and tracked how much I was burning in exercise.

I bought the 'SportLine Duo' at Best Buy for about $60. I also think it's worth it to go with a chest strap model.



KRISTEN_SAYS
SparkPoints: (73,318)
Fitness Minutes: (34,635)
Posts: 5,088
3/17/13 12:35 P

So worth it. Even though the amount of calories burned a HRM gives you are still estimates, they're more likely to be accurate than cardio machines and online estimates.



KAKEPO
Posts: 361
3/17/13 12:06 P

I think they are worth it. If you use equipment at the gym it could give you an inaccurate picture. This way it's set up for you and you'll get a more accurate reading.



REDSHOES2011
SparkPoints: (35,936)
Fitness Minutes: (66,181)
Posts: 7,159
3/17/13 9:04 A

The only one I had was defect from the shop-eating healthy and daily exercise is a better investiment than any gadget on the market.. Efter so many years gadgets get old, unrealiable and need to be replaced.
The need to eat healthy and exercise never changes for me..



SP_COACH_NANCY
SparkPoints: (158,833)
Fitness Minutes: (112,042)
Posts: 46,222
3/17/13 8:56 A

Hi PIPPISMILES,

From my own personal experience, it was one of the best tools that helped me break a very long plateau. I did not use it so much to measures calories burn, but more for measuring the intensity of my workouts. I think many people overestimate their exercise intensity and this is just another tool. And while they may be a tad expensive, I still have mine 7 years later.

Which brand do I prefer? I like the Polar brand--as they were the first company to bring the HRM to the market over 30 years ago and because they don't tend to experience issues with other electronic equipment. Just like a FitBit or BodyMedia device is a tool, I look at my HRM and Garmin (tracks my distance for running) the say same way.

Coach Nancy



MOTIVATED@LAST
Posts: 14,028
3/17/13 6:23 A

An HRM is just a measuring device. It doesn't help you move faster, or exercise in ways you couldn't otherwise. Personally, I would rather spend my money on something like a new pair of running shoes, or a set of weights.

BUT, there are some positives:
* Many people get a sense of satisfaction from seeing the numbers on the monitor, and that sense of satisfaction may help build a healthy habit of regular exercise.
* Also, an HRM may be a good reminder to increase the intensity of your workouts, pushing well into the cardio zone, rather than just cruising through your workout.
* Understanding how many calories you are burning may help balance your energy intake and expenditure.

With a little bit of research online, you can learn how to get most of these benefits without spending any money on HRM. But an HRM is probably simpler and faster.

M@L



MPLANE37
SparkPoints: (64,980)
Fitness Minutes: (35,097)
Posts: 2,166
3/17/13 4:45 A

I am a fan of HRMs. In general, I like gadgets. So I owned several HRMs, from relatively basic to very fancy. As already pointed out, they provide accuracy in your calories burned estimates. That pretty much sums up how useful they are.

After several years of taking exercise seriously, nowadays I go by "rate of perceived exertion". That is because I have realized that sticking to an exercise routine requires management of perceived stress. If I am too stressed repeatedly over and over again, because I compare the numbers to what I believe they should be, it will really push my patience and increase my chances of dropping at least some of the exercise. On the other hand, if I go by RPE, I can gauge the stress that I feel much better, and that gives me the opportunity to progress at my own rate, without the possibility of running out of my patience.

Edited by: MPLANE37 at: 3/17/2013 (04:55)


DRAGONCHILDE
SparkPoints: (56,424)
Fitness Minutes: (14,252)
Posts: 9,587
3/17/13 2:34 A

I have never heard anyone, ever say, "Man, I hate my heart rate monitor. I can't stand knowing how many calories I burn."

Everyone I've ever known who got one loves it. Even if they don't like their particular model, they'll usually get a different one.

It's fun data, useful, and a better, more accurate estimate than just about anything you can do outside of a lab.

With that said, you don't *need* one... they're fun, but not necessary. If you feel like you're overestimating, post your estimates here, and we can see if we agree.

Edited by: DRAGONCHILDE at: 3/17/2013 (02:35)


UNIDENT
Posts: 33,498
3/17/13 12:22 A

What do you do for exercise?

Things like walking, running and cycling are pretty well studied and the Spark estimations for those based on your weight are probably adequate. I find Spark very similar to my Polar's results for running and walking.

If you're doing something a little less traditional, it would be good to get a personalised estimation.

Remember HRMs are the best at-home estimation, but they're still an estimate! :)



PIPPISMILES
Posts: 98
3/16/13 10:51 P

I was wondering if heart rate monitors are worth the money. I know a girl who has lost a lot of weight and said that her heart rate monitor really helped her. I feel like I've been at a plateau forever, and I feel like I always overestimate how much my exercise really burns. The one I am looking at is the Polar FT40. It's pretty expensive, but I've found a couple on ebay. I'm on a pretty tight budget. Any suggestions on any other brands? Or if it is even worth it?



 
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