One of the most effective ways to work out is with a heart rate monitor. Many people work out with the goal of running a certain distance or completing a set of repetitions, but intensity gets left out of the equation. The intensity level is important. If it’s allowed to fluctuate too much, the training effects of the session are greatly reduced.
A digital heart rate monitor watch is designed to notify users whenever they push themselves too hard, or not hard enough. While the technology can get quite advanced, depending on the model, the basic concept is to keep the user in a particular aerobic zone, based on the person’s age. Once the person’s date of birth is entered into the watch, the maximum heart rate for the calculated age is used as a benchmark.
The user selects a range of heart rates to stay within during the workout. These heart rates reflect lower and upper percentages of the maximum designated heart rate. A low intensity workout might be within 55% and 70% of the maximum, and a high intensity workout could be considered 65% to 85%. If the user falls below the minimum percentage, or exceeds the maximum, the HRM device will continue to beep until the the user returns to the aerobic zone (the percentage boundaries).
Some HRM watches, like the Polar F11, go above and beyond this functionality. They can record a series of workout sessions and upload them to a specially designed fitness website. Not all feature of advanced watches are essential (for instance, some received coded tranmissions from a chest sensor, so that other exercisers in the vicinity also using an HRM watch don’t interfere with the signal sent on a private channel), but the ability to transfer, track and trend workout data is a concrete tactic for staying focused on motivated in the long term.