Heart Rate Monitors

Written by Patricia Tunstall
Bookmark and Share

Heart rate monitors were essentially developed by Polar in 1977 to aid the Finnish National Cross Country Ski Team in their training. This was the first EKG-accurate, wireless monitor ever, and gave a big boost to the idea of intensity training by heart rate. This concept was so valuable in its benefits to athletes that it became a dominant factor in training in the 1980s, and has continued to guide training today.

The idea is that exercising at the right intensity is critical to reaching your fitness goals, and fitness accessories can provide the measurements that reveal your intensity level. Intensity is measured partly by your heart rate, which, of course, increases with exercise; heart rate monitors use electrodes on chest straps to transmit heart rate details to a receiver, a fitness watch. You must know your maximum heart rate, which is determined by a tread mill test that monitors your heart performance under the stress of exercise, or a formula.

Heart Rate Monitors Provide Measurements

The formula is commonly used throughout the fitness world to ascertain how hard you should push yourself. If you have not been exercising regularly, are over 35, overweight, and/or have a family or personal history of heart disease, subtract your age from 220. The resulting number is your approximate, maximum heart rate, which exercise heart monitors will record.

If you exercise aerobically several times a week, subtract half your age from 205. At age 40, you would subtract 20 from 205, which leaves 185; 185 is the heart rate you should not exceed. When you determine your minimum heart rate, you can then target this zone for your workouts, and heart rate monitors will register this information.

Bookmark and Share