Fitness Articles

Listen to Your Heart Rate Monitor

The Importance of this Training Tool

Imagine you’re driving on a country road. You’re enjoying the ride and noticing the cars that you pass along the way, excited to get to your destination. Suddenly you see those familiar red and blue lights flashing in your rearview mirror and you pull over to the side of the road. When the officer approaches, she asks you how fast you were going and you have no idea—you weren’t paying attention to your speedometer. Or even worse, your speedometer is broken! Whether you’re new to driving or have been doing it for decades, it’s hard to guess how fast you’re going without using that handy meter. Are you moving too slowly or just right? Should you match the speed of the other drivers around you, or are they being too risky? Is your speed conserving fuel or will you run out of gas before you reach your destination?

Exercising without accurately monitoring your intensity is like driving a car without a speedometer. It poses uncertainty (is your intensity level appropriate?), risk (are working too hard for your body to handle?), and health concerns (is your speed improving or hurting your health?).

In the world of fitness technology, using a heart rate monitor is the most accurate and convenient way to assess your exercise intensity (provided that you are not pregnant or on any medication that may affect your heart rate). Plus they offer a host of other benefits, such as calorie burn calculation and training guidelines. Read on to find out how a heart rate monitor (HRM) can help you reach your health and fitness goals and why SparkPeople’s fitness experts consider them to be excellent investments and tools for every person who exercises.

What is a heart rate monitor?
A heart rate monitor is an electronic device that allows you to continuously monitor your heart rate while exercising. Typically it consists of two elements, a comfortable chest strap and a wrist receiver. The chest strap is adjustable to accommodate a variety of sizes. You strap it around the chest, and it picks up your heartbeat and transmits it to the receiver, which usually doubles as a digital watch. The receiver then displays your heart rate (among other things) during your exercise session.
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About The Author

Nicole Nichols Nicole Nichols
A certified personal trainer and fitness instructor with a bachelor's degree in health education, Nicole loves living a healthy and fit lifestyle and helping others do the same. Nicole was formerly SparkPeople's fitness expert and editor-in-chief, known on the site as "Coach Nicole." Make sure to explore more of her articles and blog posts.

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