A heart rate monitor is a handy tool that will help promote a safer cycling experience. It monitors your fitness level and indicates your health condition. While you can count your pulse or heart rate manually, this isn’t the most accurate thing to do. You will benefit from having an accessory that continuously and precisely measures your heart rate.
Choosing a heart rate monitor is not as easy as picking the cheapest model you can find. You need to understand what is a heart rate monitor and why use a heart rate monitor. This short guide will help you make the right choice.
What is a Heart Rate Monitor?
A heart rate monitor is a personal monitoring device often used in physical activities, such as cycling. It provides immediate feedback showing how hard you are working by measuring your heart rate in real-time. They are equipped with advanced sensors to provide accurate readings.
Most of the heart rate monitors available in the market today rely on two technologies. It uses either electrocardiography (ECG) or photoplethysmography (PPG). ECG is the technology for electrical heart rate monitors while PPG is for optical heart rate monitor.
While heart rate monitors vary in terms of their design, they all work the same way. They are equipped with a transmitter. This is the part that measures your heart rate and sends it to the receiver, such as a phone app or a smartwatch. The transmission and receipt of data happen in real-time.
Why Use a Heart Rate Monitor?
Whether you are riding your mountain bike outdoors or you are doing indoor cycling workouts, below are some of the most compelling reasons to use a heart rate monitor.
- It Promotes Safety: You will know if you are exercising too hard if your heart rate is way beyond what is recommended for your age. It helps in finding your limit, which will prevent over-training.
- It Acts as a Personal Coach: For those who do not have the luxury to afford a cycling coach, heart rate monitors are ideal alternatives. They will provide valuable insights, such as whether you have to pull back or exert more effort.
- It Provides Accurate and Immediate Feedback: Sure, you can count your pulse manually. However, it will require too much work and the results will be inaccurate, especially if you have to cycle at the same time. Heart rate monitors are convenient.
- It is Versatile: Depending on the product that you will be choosing, it can go beyond heart rate monitoring. Most of them are smart enough to deliver other functions, such as counting calories burned.
How to Choose the Best Heart Rate Monitor
Aside from talking about what is a heart rate monitor, this quick guide will also help you pick the right one. The options will be plenty, but not all of them can deliver the anticipated benefits. Below are some of the most important considerations.
1. Type of Heart Rate Monitor
One of the first and most important things to consider is the type of heart rate monitor you will be buying. This will be indicative of its design and the way it works.
Chest-Strap Heart Rate Monitor
This style has a chest strap with a wireless sensor, which records pulses electronically and sends data to a receiver. It might seem inconvenient at first to have a strap around your chest, but once you get used to it, you can enjoy its accurate results.
Wrist-based Heart Rate Monitor
For a handy and convenient alternative, choose wrist-based heart rate monitors. They look like traditional wristwatches, except that they are equipped with optical sensors. You can wear these devices round-the-clock like a normal watch except when it is charging.
If you do not like a heart rate monitor that you will be wearing, you can choose to have a bike computer instead. You need to have a special device on the handlebars. When gripped while you are cycling, these sensors will monitor your heartbeat.
One of the most important parts of the heart rate monitor is the sensor. This is responsible for transmitting accurate data to the receiver. If you have an inferior sensor, then this means that the readings will be inaccurate, and hence, data will be useless.
The best way to evaluate the accuracy of the sensors is to read reviews and learn from the real-life experiences of other users. Be careful and decipher paid reviews from genuine opinions.
If you want a heart rate monitor with accurate sensors, then it is best to choose a chest-strap device. They are more accurate compared to those worn as wristwatches or the sensors in handlebars.
Another important part of the heart rate monitor is the display. This is the digital screen that shows the beats per minute detected by the sensors. It should be large enough, which means that it will be easy to see day or night. The display should also have a backlight. It is good if you can adjust the brightness level based on what the environment requires.
You will be wearing the heart rate monitor while you are cycling or engaging in any other physical activity. It should be comfortable so that you can concentrate on what you are doing. Find a lightweight heart rate monitor. The straps should not rub uncomfortably on your skin. If it affects your comfort, then your performance can also be compromised.
Consider the things that the heart rate monitor can do. A lot of people love wristwatch heart rate monitors because it can double as a functional accessory. Aside from letting you know the date and time, some models are versatile enough to also show calories burned. Others can even let you read text messages.
6. Battery Life
Cheaper heart rate monitors will have replaceable batteries. If you want a higher-end alternative, go for one with built-in and rechargeable batteries, which will also be eco-friendly. See to it that the battery charges quickly and that each full charge will last a long time.
7. Memory Function
Like in the case of cadence sensors, the heart rate monitor should also have a memory function. This will allow it to deliver more intelligent functionality. It must remember and save past readings, making it easier to evaluate your historical performance. It will let you see how much you are improving.
The GPS function in a heart rate monitor will come handy in terms of tracking your movement. This is good if you are often cycling outdoors, and you want a device that can record your route. It will help you track your pace and distance. This will make the heart rate monitor more expensive, but for most cyclists, it will be worth the additional price.
Heart rate monitors will have a convenient display where you can see your pulse. However, this may not be enough for some users. If you want optimal functionality, consider the connectivity of the monitoring device. Some can be connected to a compatible mobile app or software, which will let you make more sense of the information from the device.
For your peace of mind, consider the warranty coverage that the manufacturer offers. The standard warranty is one year, but it will be better if it is longer. Within the warranty period, the device is covered against problems in craftsmanship. This means that the manufacturer will offer free repair or replacement whenever you encounter a problem.
Q: What is the purpose of a heart rate monitor?
The purpose of a heart rate monitor is to accurately measure how many times your heart beats per minute. It provides measurements in real-time. In turn, you can use these measurements to determine how safe your workout is. Moreover, it allows you to adjust your workouts accordingly.
Q: Is it worth getting a heart rate monitor?
Yes, a heart rate monitor is worth your money. While it is not an essential tool for cyclists and fitness enthusiasts, it is nice to have one. It can offer plenty of benefits, such as accurately monitoring your heart rate to determine your performance in physical activity.
Q: What is a good heart rate for my age?
A good heart rate for most people will be anywhere from 60 to 100 beats per minute. This is for those who are aged 18 years old and above. For those who are younger, a normal heart rate will be 70 to 100 beats per minute.
Globo Surf Overview
Now that you know more about what is a heart rate monitor and why use a heart rate monitor, it is easy to be convinced that you need one. Whether you are cycling outdoors or working out in a turbo trainer, this is a handy device that measures your heart beats per minute. In turn, it will promote a safer exercise and can even function as your coach as long as you know how to interpret the numbers correctly.