How to choose a heart rate monitor and what is it for?

What is a heart rate monitor

A heart rate monitor is a device that monitors the heart rate (HR), which allows you to determine the permissible level of physical activity, the heart rate zone and not go beyond the permissible values. The gadget can memorize the indicator in order to compare it with previous or subsequent measurements.


When is a heart rate monitor needed?

A heart rate monitor can come in handy in different situations:

  1. In everyday life. Many do not understand why this device is needed in everyday life, because you can simply put two fingers to the radial artery and, by simple calculations, determine the heart rate. But the pulse does not always reflect the real picture of the heart rate, and besides, you can always get lost.

IMPORTANT! People suffering from various heart diseases must constantly monitor their pulse, respectively, a heart rate monitor is a necessary device for such people.

  1. For sports activities. With the help of a heart rate monitor, you can maintain an optimal level of physical activity. During training, the heart rate increases and can reach its maximum mark (220 beats). Training with such a heart rate is dangerous to health, which is why it is so important to use a heart rate monitor so as not to harm yourself in the pursuit of athletic performance and slimness. Below we describe in more detail the heart rate zones for sports.

Heart rate zones

It should be noted right away that the indicators are somewhat averaged and in most cases you need to focus on the sensations, while relying on the indicators of the heart rate monitor.

Zone 1. Aerobic zone (health zone).


The heart rate should be 50-60% of the limit. The duration of the workout can be 20 minutes or more. It feels like it should be a light load. Those who have just started to play sports should work in this zone.

Zone 2. Fat burning zone (fitness zone).

The heart rate is 60-70% of the limit. The workout should last from 40 minutes. At the same time, you should feel free breathing, moderate muscle strain and a little sweating.


Zone 3. Zone of strength endurance (fitness zone).

The pulse rate is 70-80% of the limit, the duration of the load is 10-40 minutes, it all depends on the preparation. Muscle fatigue and free breathing should be felt. Due to the fact that the intensity of training is higher, the body begins to actively consume fat reserves.


Zone 4. Zone of improvement (hard).

The heart rate is 80-90% of the limit, the load time is from 2 to 10 minutes. Sensations: tiredness and shortness of breath. Relevant for experienced athletes.

Zone 5. Zone of improvement (maximum).


The pulse level is 90-100% of the limit, the time is no more than 2-5 minutes. The body works on the verge of possibilities, therefore it is relevant for professionals. Often, the rhythm of breathing becomes disordered, palpitations are rapid, and increased sweating.

How to calculate your heart rate range correctly

Before you start using the heart rate monitor, you need to define your target heart rate zone.

Heart rate zone = 220 – your age.


The result obtained will be the maximum for you, beyond which it is not recommended to go beyond during physical exertion.

You need to count depending on the type of training. For example, for weight loss, the formula will be as follows: (220 – age – resting heart rate * 0,6) + resting heart rate.

Heart rate monitor classification

Manufacturers produce different models of heart rate monitors and classify them according to:

  • fastening method;
  • type of signal transmission;
  • set of functions.

The specified classification parameters are considered basic, but there are also minor ones, for example, design and cost.

How to choose a heart rate monitor based on the type of sensor

The design of the heart rate monitor depends on the type of sensor. It can be chest, wrist, finger or ear.

  • The chest heart rate monitor is the most accurate model. An electrode is mounted in the chest strap, which transmits the readings to a fitness tracker worn on the wrist.
  • The wrist is attached to the wrist. It is considered inconvenient, since it occupies a large area, and the indicators give out with errors.
  • The earpiece is attached to the ear or finger. Models are small in size, with a high level of accuracy, but transmit the result with a delay of a few seconds.

How to choose a heart rate monitor by signal transmission method

By the method of signal transmission they differ:

  • Wireless… All modern models are wireless. The indicators are transmitted over the radio channel, but due to the lack of a wire, errors are possible. Ideal for sports that require constant body position changes.

It is IMPORTANT to take into account that if people using such a gadget are within range of the signal, interference may occur in the operation of your device.

  • Wired… These include devices in which the sensor and receiver are wired. Radio interference does not have any effect on the operation of such devices, but their operation is not convenient for everyone. At first glance, the wire that connects the bracelet and the sensor can interfere with the training process, but such a heart rate monitor has an undeniable advantage – during operation, it will only record your indicators. Moreover, the indicator is always accurate and stable. It can be recommended for people who want to know the exact heart rate.

How to choose a heart rate monitor by additional functions

Choosing a heart rate monitor is recommended depending on your activities. In addition to the function of calculating the pulse, it is good to have additional functions, for example:

  • For running and fitness – built-in GPS, pedometer, possibly calorie counter.
  • For swimmers – a similar set of functions, plus the ability to dive under water to a depth of 10 meters.
  • For cyclists – pedaling sensor, route tracking.
  • For climbers – a barometer and a compass.

Optimal choice

Please make sure before purchasing:

  • the information is displayed correctly on the display;
  • no unnecessary functions (the degree of convenience increases);
  • there is a sound signal;
  • the accuracy of the heart rate monitor is quite high;
  • good battery autonomy.

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