With the rise of wearable tech like smartwatches and heart rate monitors, fitness is a booming trend. People are racing to the stores to get the latest devices to keep up with their fitness goals, and measure their heart rate while they work out. But, are heart rate monitors really worth the trouble? Does the average person even know what to do with the information that’s being given to them?
Heart Rate: Why It’s Important
Before we go into whether or not heart rate monitors are worth their weight in gold, let’s see what the “heart rate” actually is. According to Mayo Clinic, your heart rate is simply the number of times your heart beats in one minute. This is also referred to as your pulse.
Resting Heart Rate
A normal (resting heart rate) for adults is between 60 and 100 beats per minute. Your resting heart rate is the amount of times your heart beats each minute when you’re sitting, or inactive. This is important to know because your heart shouldn’t beat fast when you’re not doing anything. If it does, this could be a sign that your heart is overworked, and an indication of a serious cardiovascular condition.
Active Heart Rate
Your active heart rate varies depending on your resting heart rate and the intensity of the activity that you’re performing. As a general rule of thumb, the maximum beats per minute for everyone is around 200-220.
So, let’s say that you’re on the treadmill, and you’re panting and sweating like crazy. You see that your heart rate is 215, you know you’ve almost reached your max, and you slow it down. By the time you get to this point, your body will be begging for a break anyway, but some people will just try to push their way through it, which is dangerous to health. A heart rate monitor will tell you when it’s time to slow down, a potential life saver!
Now that we know why analyzing your heart rate is important, we can address the question of whether or not the monitors are worth it. In a nutshell, the short answer is absolutely. Heart rate monitors are an effective way to observe your cardiovascular activity, and help improve your overall health.
The key to making the best use of it is to utilize it in conjunction with a reasonable fitness plan, and a physician’s oversight on the results of your cardiovascular activity. Including your doctor in the plan helps make the monitoring activity much more effective, and gives you the peace of mind knowing that a professional is looking over your numbers.
Choosing the Best Heart Rate Monitor
All heart rate monitors aren’t created equal. Some have more features and cost more than others. If you don’t know how to decide which one is best for you, follow these simple guidelines. If you’re looking for a basic monitor, then you could go with one that doesn’t have a lot of features and attaches to your wrist (like a watch). You can get a basic device for around $35.
People who are very active and workout often may need a wearable, continuous monitoring device that has other features like calorie and sleep tracking. These can run a bit on the pricey side, but if you’re serious about keeping an eye out on all aspects of your health, it’s worth it.
The important thing to remember is that making the decision to wear a heart rate monitor shouldn’t be about keeping up with the trends. Your main priority should be getting your cardiovascular activity within a safe zone, and learning about how you can be even healthier.
With a physician’s oversight, wearing a heart rate monitor can be a very good thing. Even if you don’t have a doctor to consult about the results, it’s always good to know your numbers. So, again, heart rate monitors are definitely worth their weight in gold, you just have to be in the right mindset to maximize the results.