Cardiac monitor: How to choose the best model in 2021?
Today we are going to talk about the heart monitor, an essential accessory to monitor your heart rate during physical exercise.
The heart monitor is shaped like a watch, but it is much more than a time display, with it you can make important measurements such as the amount of calories spent, distance traveled and heart rate recording.
This way, in addition to moving your body, you are taking care of your heart health, in a conscious and risk-free way.
First, the most important
- The cardiac monitor can have the measurement sensor on the inside of the watch or come with a chest strap, which should be used during sports.
- Some models are so modern that they are even equipped with a stopwatch, GPS, timer, alarms, have connection to computers and smartphones via wireless or bluetooth, are waterproof and so on.
- And the cardiac monitor is not just for practicing physical activities. It can be used by anyone who wants to collect information about their health status, especially for those who have a family history of cardiovascular problems.
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Exercising is essential to keep your body and heart healthy. But, you need to be aware of your heart rate, as it cannot exceed the maximum limits recommended for your age group and gender, as this is bad for your heart.
To control this and other indexes, it is worth buying a cardiac monitor, which resembles a clock in design, but has many more features and functionality.
What is a cardiac monitor and where to use it?
The heart rate is linked to the force that the heart makes to pump blood throughout the body. For each age group and gender, there is an adequate minimum and maximum frequency.
This index changes whether you are resting, or exercising, and physical activity is very important to make your heart stronger and maintain an adequate pace.
The frequency of heart beats per minute (bpm) becomes slower over the course of life, and this means that the heart gains more ease in pumping blood through the body.
In adolescents (12 to 18 years old) it should be between 70 and 100 bpm, in adults it should vary between 60 and 100 and for the elderly it should be 50 to 60 beats per minute.
As the heart rate changes during training, it is necessary to have a doctor monitor and practice an activity appropriate to your level of experience and goals (lose weight, gain muscle, tone, among others). Whenever you exercise, use the heart monitor:
Heart rate can be measured by the wrist or the neck. If you squeeze your middle and index fingers over one of these areas and count how many times your heart beats in a minute, you can already get a sense of your heart rate.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of a cardiac monitor?
To keep track of your heart rate during physical activity, you can use a heart monitor. It can come in the form of a bracelet or watch, or even as a band to be worn on the chest.
This model of band, also called a strap, can be used alone or can be a piece that accompanies the model in watch style. The most modern devices do not require the strap and have sensors inside the bracelet.
And these devices don’t just measure your heart rate, they take other measurements such as steps taken, calories expended, distance covered and even control the quality of your sleep.
Some models are so modern that they even come with GPS, apart from the connection with the smartphone and computer, to send all your training information to some training software or application.
If you practice water sports, there is a cardiac monitor option for you too, but you need to be aware if the device is water resistant (it won’t spoil if you get wet in the rain, for example) or if it is waterproof.
In addition to all these advantages, the cardiac monitor has some basic functions such as date, alarm and calendar display, but its main function is to observe how your heart behaves as you move.
We list the main advantages and disadvantages of the cardiac monitor, check out:
- Monitor heart rate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
- It serves to indicate if your heart health is up to date
- Indicates whether you are working hard or if you can increase your training frequency
- Some models come with several extra functions
- Some models have limited functions
- Devices with more features are more expensive
Which is better: Heart rate monitor watch or strap?
The heart monitor can be a watch or a strap, they have different characteristics. The watch monitor is more practical, modern and measures various performance indexes related to physical activities.
The strap-like monitor needs to be placed around the chest and only measures the heart rate.
A device similar to the watch heart monitor (nowadays this is the most used type) is the Smartwatch, a wearable (wearable technology) that gives access to some functions of the cell phone on the watch.
The Smartwatch can, among other things, measure cardiac function, measure the time spent playing sports and indicate the speed of walking or running.
And you can change the type and color of bracelet or screen protection to make the accessory suitable for the environment you are in, whether at the gym or at work.
The most interesting thing is that just like the cardiac monitor, the data generated by the smartwatch goes to your smartphone, and can be stored or tabulated in software or applications for planning exercise.
Some factors influence the price of a cardiac monitor, the main one is the amount of functions that the watch has, the more features, the more expensive it costs.
The minimum amount you will pay for this equipment is R $ 85. There are models of excellent quality between R $ 100 and R $ 200, the more sophisticated ones exceed R $ 1000 and the most expensive model costs just over R $ 4,000.
Where to buy?
You can buy a cardiac monitor in sporting goods stores, But with this Buying Guide, you won’t even have to leave the house to buy a heart monitor. You can buy this accessory in virtual stores like Amazon.
On Amazon, for example, you find a wide variety of models, of the most different styles, prices and brands and the best thing is that the product arrives at home quickly.
Before you start using the heart monitor, you need to find out your maximum heart rate.
There are several ways to do this, one of which is using the cardiac monitor itself: on a moderate climb, do a strong run three times, increasing the intensity with each repetition. In the last repetition you should be running as if you were in a competition, always watching the bpm.
At the end of this last round, the frequency shown on the monitor will be the approximate number of your FCM.
Purchasing criteria: Factors for comparing cardiac monitor models
As you can see, regardless of whether or not you are an athlete, the heart monitor is a fundamental accessory in the practice of sports. That’s because it is a cardiac prevention and monitoring equipment.
But there is a wide variety of models, so you need to consider your needs first. Then note the following characteristics:
- Types of cardiac monitor
We will explain each of these items above, which are essential criteria for choosing your heart rate monitor correctly.
Types of cardiac monitor
It is possible to perform this monitoring 24 hours a day and seven days a week using a heart rate monitor, which can be found in the strap and watch models.
The heart-shaped heart rate monitor comes with a wireless heart rate sensor that detects the heartbeat through electrodes in its extension and sends them to a receiver similar to a wristwatch.
To use it, you must moisten the electrodes with a damp cloth, position the band around the chest (some models are for use on the arm) and adjust the band to your body. The use is practical and it can be used in various physical activities such as weight training, walking and running.
For some runners, the chest strap of the cardiac monitor hinders training and testing. See how the heart rate monitor should be used:
Although some models of a watch heart monitor use the strap to measure the beat, there are much more modern models that do this monitoring by the wrist.
The beats are read by LEDs on the inside of the watch. These sensors are in direct contact with the part of the pulse where the rate of beats per minute is measured, so there is no interference in the pickup (different from the belt).
Most watch or wristband displays have several extra features in addition to counting the beats and there are specific models for each sport, such as cycling and swimming.
Whichever type you choose, both models emit audible and visual warnings, announcing your heart’s Bpm.
The main difference between cardiac monitors is the amount of functions that this device has. So the first step in choosing the right model is to identify your need.
The most basic models only measure the heart rate. Such a device can be a way for you to experience this way of measuring your sports performance.
If you are a cyclist, look for a cardiac monitor that has a lap counter, integrated GPS and even a digital compass (these features are also recommended for those on a trail).
For those who take physical activity very seriously, or are trying to lose weight, a calorie expenditure meter is important. Some come with a timer and alarm, so you can program how long you want to perform a certain activity.
For athletes, the cardiac monitor with a USB or Bluetooth connection is even more important, as the collected data can be passed to the computer or cell phone and generate training statistics to measure performance.
Some already come with software that can be used to monitor progress or even set up plans and goals. You can choose to follow up on your cell phone as well, using apps with the same goals.
There are cardiac monitor models for every taste. Whether for those who like a more discreet accessory, with a more common watch face or for those who want models with a sporty look, colorful or with several options of bracelets to change.