We all know that exercise is good for health but most of us don’t have as much time as we would like to devote to working out, therefore getting the most out of each exercise session is essential. Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned athlete, using a heart rate monitor is an important way to measure and optimize your exercise; being able to stay in the optimal heart rate zone will ensure that you are exercising efficiently. By staying in this HR ‘sweet spot’, you can gain the maximum benefit in the shortest amount of time. It’s not just for the gym either! An HR monitor can be used for virtually any activity where you heart rate is increased such as walking, running, cycling, and more.

So what should you look for when choosing a Heart Rate Monitor? There are two main types of HR monitors and they work slightly different.

The first type is a Heart Rate chest strap. This is a fabric strap that goes around your chest with a sensor that maintains contact with the chest and continuously reads your heart rate. The data is then transmitted to a receiver unit on your wrist or in some cases, transmitted directly to your smartphone for recording and storage. By using the power of your smartphone you can obtain excellent performance and results for a modest investment. Using this phone + sensor approach gives you the best data acquisition and analyzing and also allows you to use the data across multiple apps with phone function integration such as music and location services.

The second type is a wrist watch style that takes its reading directly from your wrist or from pressing your finger onto a sensor to take a reading. Although easier to put on, these type lack the accuracy of a chest strap style and in some cases require you to stop and take a reading, something that may be impractical or undesirable to do during exercise.

There are a dizzying amount of HR choices out there but any one you select should have some basic and essential functions.

Accuracy – The most important feature for optimizing heart rate zones and delivering usable data. Coded transmissions – Prevents interference from other units, especially useful at the gym.

Target heart range settings – Customization of range setting profiles for different exercises gives you greater efficiency.

Data acquisition and storage – The ability to track, record, and analyze data after your workout Continuous tracking – Better accuracy of your HR data. Ease of use – Simple, intuitive design, and comfortable during use.

Typically more features mean more cost. However, by implementing smart phone apps in conjunction with an accurate sensor, full-features can now be obtained at a much lower cost. Many smartphone apps include all the functions of the most expensive sensors and many more such as GPS and route tracking.

For more information on heart rate monitors, fitness apps and iPhone fitness, visit: www.imazecorp.com and see all the ways that we can put your smartphone to work for you.