I must confess—I am addicted to my fitness monitor. If I forget to wear it during a workout, I feel lost. Why? It gives me information that can make or break my workout. Not only does it let me know my heart rate, but I can also see how many calories I am burning during my workout, how many steps I am taking throughout the day (which also adds to the calories burned), and I can import the calories I consume. For this reason, I choose to call it a fitness monitor rather than a heart rate monitor because it does so much more than calculate my heart rate.
If you have never used a heart rate monitor while exercising, it is something worth considering. You will be amazed to see how hard you are working during times you may think you are not—and vice versa. I continue to be surprised by workouts that have gotten my heart rate sky high, but thought the opposite. I have also discovered that sometimes my heart rate is not nearly as high as I think it is during exercise. Wearing a monitor lets you gauge your intensity while also pushing you if you see that you are not quite where you want to be. At the same time, you may need to take it down a bit if your heart rate is going too high for too long and your recovery period is taking longer than it should.
Monitors come in all shapes, styles and prices so choose one that is designed specifically for your goals. For instance, runners often use a monitor that tracks distance, pace and speed. Endurance athletes may simply want a basic heart rate monitor so they can find the place where their heart rates are steady enough to endure their specific activity. If you are trying to lose weight, monitors that let you enter your calories are beneficial. There are even monitors that hook up to your computer where you can log in and see how many calories you burned, how many you consumed and where you are in terms of your daily or monthly goals. When it comes to price, fitness monitors run the gamut so it will depend on what type you get. Obviously, the more bells and whistles it has, the more it will cost. (photo credit here)
Finally, if you do use a monitor, let it continue to run for thirty minutes after you are done exercising. To my surprise one day, I forgot to turn it off after I left the gym. About twenty-five minutes later I remembered. Just for the heck of it, I checked my heart rate and the calories I burned. To my amazement, I burned an additional 190 calories from the last time I checked it which was right after teaching a full hour of Tabata. So now I always do my final check a half hour after I am done exercising. This is insurmountable proof that you are still burning calories long after you are done exercising—all the more reason to engage in high-intensity exercise a few times a week. Even during heavy strength training sessions where no cardiovascular exercise is being performed, I have seen the numbers get above 400 and even above 500 depending on which particular exercises I am doing that day. (photo credit here)
Make sure that the monitor you purchase lets you import your personal information including your age, weight and resting heart rate. All of this data plays a vital role in determining your fitness level and how high or low your heart rate is during exercise.
Monitors can open your eyes when it comes to your overall fitness. Remember that the quicker it takes for your heart rate to get back to normal after exercise, the better shape you are in as your heart is able to work and recover quickly and effectively. A fitness monitor is helpful in letting you know where you are in terms of your target heart rate and where you should be during exercise. With so many fitness gadgets and gizmos, a monitor is definitely one that is worth the investment.
Here are some of our favorite Fitness Monitors. Click the links below to find out more info or to purchase!