I love mine! I like to be able to see how many calories I'm burning. I can't really run, it's more of a slow jog for several minutes followed by a minute of walking over and over. I set my goal for each session based on how many calories I want to burn. I need to increase slowly over time, but it inspires me to keep going on days the going is hard, and reminds me to back off on days it seems so easy. If I don't back off, I'll end up paying for it the next few days. But you don't "need" one. If you like gadgets and want a more accurate way to monitor your progress, it's fun to have!
I also found that the standard calculation the monitor used to determine my maximum heart rate was way to low. I found the following website and between this and my own observations while I exercise, I've come up with my own number and entered that into the monitor. See the easy calculator at the bottom of the web page. That has made it work better for me.
Fitness Minutes: (214,989)
19,750 5/8/14 10:34 A
You can spend money or you can use your built in heart rate monitor which is your RPE or rate of perceived exertion as previously posted. In laboratory tests the RPE enjoys a one to one relationship with actual instrument measured exertion. The advantages of using the RPE is it is based on you and not an average (averages only apply to 50% of a sample) and it recalibrates daily so it is always accurate .
By the way I am 77 years old and my built in heart rate monitor is still accurate.
Edited by: SERGEANTMAJOR at: 5/7/2014 (14:51)
Fitness Minutes: (13,280)
5/7/14 9:05 A
As a person in his 50's, I would recommend using a heart rate monitor. I have mine programmed to let me know where I am in the workout. If I get my heart rate over 170 bpm it beeps loudly so I know I am at my upper limit. It also will have a different beep for when I hit my training zone. Over the last few years I have raised my fitness level so I can adjust the heart rate monitor to better fit my level of fitness. Over time I have been able, with the aid of the heart rate monitor,to maximize my workouts and have to work out less as a result. If used appropriately this tool can really help bring you to a higher level of fitness.
One thing to keep in mind is that HR monitors make recommendations based on average populations.. but everyone is different and many people's exercise HR is below or above average, so it's common for the recommendations to be either too high or low. An alternative is to use the Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) scale, which basically just means listening to your body and varying the intensity accordingly. Here is a good explanation of it:
The intensity you choose depends on your goals, and also your abilities.. but generally speaking, a workout should involve spending at least some time in the "hard" zone if possible, and certainly in the "somewhat hard". That is generally safe for those not in a high risk category.
Fitness Minutes: (24,004)
4,666 5/6/14 1:09 P
Thank you for the article. Very informative!
And Thank you ARCHIMEDESII for your thoughtful response.
Fitness Minutes: (300,953)
5/6/14 12:32 P
an HRM is a tool you could use to help you lose weight, but you don't need one in order to lose.
What are your fitness goals ? An HRM was originally designed to help athletes monitor their heart rate during workouts. However, these days, lots of people who have become more active use them in order to improve their fitness.
Can they be used to help a person lose weight ? Many HRMs do provide a calorie burn. That information can be used to help a person determine how many calories they need to eat during the day in order to lose as well as still have enough calories to provide for their normal day's energy needs.
If you plan on just being a bit more active, you really don't need an HRM. If you plan on running a road race or participating in some type of fitness event, it could be a useful tool.
However, you don't need one to lose weight. I lost all the weight before I even knew what an HRM was. Weight loss is all about what you eat. Good nutrition and portion control are what take the weight off and keep it off. Exercise is what keeps a person fit.
In short, if you're not eating right, the weight won't come off even if you're wearing an HRM.
Your fitness goals will be a better guide to determine if you need an HRM or not. If you just want to lose weight, you don't need one.
Edited by: ARCHIMEDESII at: 5/6/2014 (12:33)
Fitness Minutes: (24,004)
4,666 5/6/14 12:10 P
As I age (gracefully) into the middle of this decade, I'm wondering if I should invest in a Heart Rate Monitor.
I'm not at high risk for a cardiac event; but I am definitely in the senior citizen category.