A heart rate monitor is a tool that allows us to “see” our heart. We can know in real-time how it is working, and it gives us a lot of data. It should be said that many times, this large amount of data can be very complicated to use if we do not know how to interpret it.
No matter how basic the heart rate monitor is (for very little money and we can find some in sports stores) it will always show us a stopwatch, calories, and instantaneous pulsations.
But let’s start at the beginning: what is the heart rate monitor?
A heart rate monitor is divided into two parts: the band and the watch.
The band is placed on the chest and its two sensors are responsible for collecting and transmitting our pulsations. The watch, fixed on the wrist, will show us, in real-time, the pulsations collected by the sensors of the band.
Many models launched recently, have an optical sensor in the same watch, which allows us to know all the information about the heart without the need to wear a band. Obviously, it is much more comfortable but the data collected is not very reliable. So if you want real data and quality training, use the band!
We already have our heart rate monitor on our wrist and the band on our chest, I go out for a run/walk, and what use is all that information to me?
When we start doing any cardiovascular activity (running, cycling, walking, etc.) after a very sedentary life, it will easily cause us great “cardiovascular stress” and, therefore, our heart rate will be quite high. With a heart rate monitor, we can control this rise and always maintain an adequate heart rate.
As a guideline, 220 minus age (220 – 27 years, for example) would be our maximum frequency, and we should not exceed it.
If we already have a little more level, the heart rate monitor will allow us to control at what intensity we perform each session. In a more intense session in which we seek to improve speed, we will be interested in working at 90%, while if we want to work in the “fat-burning” zone we will work between 60% and 70% of our maximum heart rate.
It will also allow us to evaluate our evolution. As we train, we will begin to notice that when faced with the same stimulus, our frequency will be lower. This data will indicate that a stimulus that previously caused us great cardiovascular stress, as we train, will affect us less and less and, therefore, that we will have improved. Many heart rate monitors offer programs and/or applications that analyze and compare the results obtained.
The heart rate monitor is also very useful, for all those people with cardiovascular problems or the elderly. Many times it is “prohibited” to carry out any type of effort that involves an increase in cardiovascular stress, but with the monitoring of a professional and a good heart rate monitor, very controlled exercise can be performed as long as certain pulsations are not exceeded (130 for example ). And finally, it can also improve our motivation.
These are the functions that will make the difference when training with or without a heart rate monitor. If you are looking for quality workouts, and that your training is always focused on your goals, train with a heart rate monitor.