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How do I Choose the Best Wireless Heart Rate Monitor?

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  • Written By: Jen Ainoa
  • Edited By: Amanda L. Wardle
  • Last Modified Date: 16 November 2016
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Choosing the best wireless heart rate monitor depends on the situation or circumstances for which the unit will be used. Wireless heart rate monitors are not all alike, and choosing the best one will involve reviewing some personal priorities or needs. Price, convenience, comfort, and style are choices that are unique to each individual and play a key role in selecting the best monitor. Other factors to consider when choosing a wireless heart rate monitor must be based on the fitness goals in mind.

Some individuals may seek heart rate monitors in order to achieve athletic goals, such as running, swimming, cycling, or other aerobic competitions in which heart rate must be monitored and maintained to achieve optimal physical performance. In cases like these, a multiple lap and well sealed wireless heart rate monitor would be useful. Athletes in training will be wearing a heart rate monitor for extended periods and may put heavy wear on the unit, so thought should be given to the materials the monitor is made of. The best heart rate monitors for serious athletes are made of stainless steel and rubber so they can withstand perspiration and shock.

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When general health and weight loss goals are the motive for purchasing a wireless heart rate monitor, important features to consider are ease of use and adjustable sizing. Some monitors have large, bright display panels to enable the user to check heart rate quickly without having to stop to see the numbers. Other features that are useful are timers that keep track of workout duration, as well as data logs to track progress over time. Many heart rate monitors come with a feature program that can provide a reading of the calories burned during a workout; however, the reliability of such readings is disputed.

Another important feature for any heart rate monitor is accuracy. The most accurate heart rate monitors are those that take the most frequent readings of heart beat. The two most common types are chest worn and wrist worn styles. Chest worn heart rate monitors are two piece units comprised of a band worn around the chest to detect heart beat, while a wrist band resembles a watch and displays readings. Wrist worn heart rate monitors detect heart beat in the wrist and serve as detector and display in one piece. Of the two types, chest worn monitors are the most accurate.

Some pieces of exercise equipment such as stationary bikes and treadmills have built in display units and can pick up readings from a chest worn heart rate monitor. If a heart rate monitor has already been purchased, it is interesting to wear it while working out on such equipment to see how the readings of the two monitors compare. Certain brands of heart rate monitors are used in medical facilities and trusted by health care workers. Fitness experts such as personal trainers or health care professionals may be able to offer advice on the best type of heart rate monitor to meet individual needs.

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