By using a digital heart rate monitor (HRM), you can make sure that your workout remains consistent, in terms of intensity, from beginning to end. Some exercisers don’t get quite the workout they intended, since they unconsciously slow down or speed up, effectively “resting” during their workout, or pushing themselves too hard in an unsustainable manner. An HRM watch counteracts this tendency by giving users continuous feedback about the amount of effort they’re putting in from moment to moment.
Digital heart rate monitor watches base your intensity on the maximum heart rate recommended for your age, which the watch sets when you enter your date of birth. The intensity is defined as a range between a certain minimum and maximum percentage of your absolute maximum heart rate. A very light intensity would be 40% to 50% of the maximum heart rate, while a high intensity workout would be 75% to 85%. You don’t have to look at the watch while you work out. The watch tells you whenever your heart rate is either lower or higher than the range you’ve set by beeping continuously. This way, you’re conscious of how much time you’re spending at the appropriate level of effort.
While some watches have sensors installed in the wrist band, most advanced watches, like the Polar F11, receive a wireless transmission from a chest strap that’s also worn during the workout. These transmitters are prone to signal interference when two or more people are using HRM watches (often the case is a crowded gym), so some models use a coded transmitter that sends heart rate information on a custom channel, so that the user is sure to get a reading.
Most advanced HRM watches also feature computer connectivity. The record your workout data, then interface with your PC so that you can upload the data to a site designed for physical tracking, allowing you to analyze and review your progress, which is an excellent way to motivate you into committing to even more progress.