What is a Heart Rate Belt?

Marisa O'Connor

A heart rate belt is a type of heart rate monitor that is designed to be worn around the chest. It is an alternative or supplementary method of monitoring heart rate to the traditional wrist heart monitor. It is placed close to the heart for accurate readings and worn under clothing for discreet monitoring. People may choose this method of heart monitoring for a variety of reasons, including medical advisement or improving an exercise regiment.

Heart rate monitors are used to monitor one's heart rate during exercise so the optimal heart rate can be achieved.
Heart rate monitors are used to monitor one's heart rate during exercise so the optimal heart rate can be achieved.

The specific design of a heart rate belt will vary depending on the manufacturer, but most belts include an oval or rectangular piece of heart monitoring equipment. It may have some adjustable settings or a screen to display results. Some of the more technologically advanced models automatically transmit results to a computer or smartphone or even to a person's doctor. The monitor is attached to an adjustable belt that is strapped onto the chest.

Heart rate monitors worn around the chest measure the axillary pulse.
Heart rate monitors worn around the chest measure the axillary pulse.

Heart rate monitors are traditionally in the form of wrist bands. This is primarily because the wrist is an easy place to detect the pulse. The heart rate belt is located on the chest because it is very close to the heart. Instead of relying on the pulsing of veins, the belt goes directly to the source of the pulse, at the heart.

A heart rate belt may be worn for a variety of reasons. One of the most common reasons is to determine where the actual heart rate is in comparison to a target heart rate. This can be particularly helpful during cardio exercise. The design of the belt is great for physical activity because it is on a part of the body that doesn't put a lot of strain on muscles. The wrist band, however, can tend to be rather bulky compared to the size of the wrist and consequently may tire out the arm to which it is attached.

A person with a particularly high risk of heart problems or someone who performed poorly on a heart test during a physical examination may be advised by his or her physician to wear a heart rate monitor for a prescribed period of time. A heart rate belt can be a great method of recording pulse over an extended period of time, depending on personal comfort preferences. People who might be shy about wearing a heart rate monitor in the open can choose to wear one of these belts under their clothes for more discreet monitoring.

A heart rate monitor may be used during cardio training to improve stamina.
A heart rate monitor may be used during cardio training to improve stamina.

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