Getting Started

Getting Started

How to Get Started

Physical activity is one of life’s most individual pursuits. Still, many people have found they work out better with others so they can get on-the-spot feedback and motivation for their fitness efforts. When you have a heart rate monitor, it doesn’t matter if you are working out alone or with a group, you now have an extremely reliable, precise source of feedback. Around the world, people are discovering that a heart rate monitor is the best workout partner they’ve ever had.

A heart rate monitor provides a seamless link between your body and your mind. No more guessing about your exercise intensity or stopping in the middle of an aerobic session to search desperately for your pulse. Whether you are a professional athlete or exercise simply for health, a Heart Rate Monitor means you can be more efficient. Training with your Heart Rate Monitor will help you enjoy your exercise and achieve your fitness goals more efficiently. The first step to take with your heart rate monitor is easy; strap it on and you are ready to reap the benefits of heart zone training!

The chest strap design is still the best for accuracy, but optical sensors built into forearm straps are being use for their comfort. Optical sensors are built into many smartwatches, which provides a level of convenience to the package for anyone who wants to track their heart rate outside of exercise. Here we will talk about the chest strap options.

Your Heart Rate Monitor is a highly-sophisticated electronic device. Under most circumstances it is as accurate as the ECG machines that you see in a hospital. It is not however, infallible and a short lesson on how a heart rate monitor works will greatly enhance your enjoyment of the product.

Transmitter Chest Strap Watch/Receiver

The transmitter strap picks up a heart beat by sensing the small electrical charge that goes through your body caused by your heart contracting. That heart beat is transmitted by a small radio transmitter to a very strong receiver in the watch. Inside the watch the information is processed by a computer chip and your heart rate is displayed on the screen. Under most circumstances that is all that there is to it.

There are two areas where outside information or interference can enter the system:

  • At the point where the chest strap contacts the skin
  • At the receiver, where it is picking up the heart rate signal from the transmitter
To reduce the chance of interference where the chest strap contacts the skin, make sure that the elastic strap is as tight as you can make it, without it being uncomfortable. Also make sure that the contact pads are well-moistened with either sweat or saliva. This is generally only a problem at the very start of your exercise session. Once your are warmed up and exercising, your sweat should keep the contacts more than sufficiently moist. Body hair can interfere with the strap getting a signal so it may be necessary for some people to shave the area of the chest where the transmitter strap contacts the body. The receiver unit is the point from which most false signals start.

There are a number of external sources that may interfere with the function of your heart rate monitor. Generally, these problems will show themselves in the form of dramatic swings in the heart rate number showing on the screen or in a total loss of the heart rate signal for a period of time. While there is nothing that can be done to eliminate these problems, they are usually transient and will either quickly go away or can be eliminated by moving out of the area of interference. The types of interference that you may encounter most often are:
  • Electromagnetic Interference – High-voltage wires, car and truck alternators, treadmill and other powered indoor exercise equipment
  • Microwave Interference – Radio towers, home security systems and microwave ovens
  • Static Electrical Interference – This can be caused by some types of clothing material (Nylon and some Polyesters) especially in dry climates. Interference from this source can often be eliminated by spraying the garment with a commercial anti-static product.
Benefits of heart rate
Determine your maximum heart rate
Before you start your exercise programs
Setting up your workout
About Sally Edwards. For the past thirty years, Sally Edwards has been racing in the front of the pack in business, sports, and lifestyle training. She is the author of eight sports and nutrition books, including Heart Zone Training (1996) and the Heart Rate Monitor Book (1993) and has lectured worldwide on a broad range of topics including breaking through the barriers that keep us from our personal achievement. She resides in Sacramento, California, and lives the fitness lifestyle that she preaches.
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