Written by Sierra Rein
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The definition of an ergometer is a machine or instrument designed for the purpose of measuring the amount of work performed by a specific muscle or group of muscles. In exercise terms, an ergometer is a computer attached to a fitness machine that informs its user on his or her performance data. This data can take the shape of a number of different forms, including heart rate, speed, distance, and resistance level.

The reason behind the use of an ergometer to measure "workload" during fitness is to analyze current performance rates and compare it to past data. An individual who is able to pedal more kilometers this month (as compared to the last) can physically see the numbers on the ergometer and write down the exact improvement percentile made during the month on his or her fitness log. Knowing how much one is gaining agility and speed over a period of time can be a great motivator to continue the training process, and can be instrumental to doctors and fitness instructors as to the next step of study or rehabilitation.

In addition, some people need ergometric functions on their bikes to stay within target heart rate zones. For example, someone who wishes to lose weight may have to slow down their normal cardio pace to meet the heart rate parameters necessary for proper weight loss. She can wear a heart rate monitor or grip the machine's heart rate handlebar sensors to accurately judge whether she is in the right zone or not. With this information at hand, she can lose weight faster than she might have without it.

Machines that Use Ergometer Functions

Almost every type of fitness machine on the market today can be found with an installed ergometer. Treadmills, step machines, rowers, elliptical trainers and stationary upright and recumbent bikes can all be fitted with a performance analyzer. Some ergometers are even designed to work with a memory data chip so the gathered information can be uploaded to a PC for further analysis.

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