Getting a heart rate monitor can be the key to getting the most out of your fitness routine. After all, how much you exercise doesn’t matter as much as the intensity of that exercise. Monitoring your heart rate can help you pace your workouts to achieve the results that you want. Here are some tips for choosing a heart rate monitor that’s right for you. 

Types of Heart Rate Monitors

There are two types of heart rate monitors readily available on today’s market: 

  • Chest-strap monitors: These devices are wireless sensors attached to a strap that wraps around your chest, which detects your pulse and sends it to a receiver on your wrist. While it can be hard to get used to wearing a chest strap, they provide the most accurate heart-rate data. Most chest strap monitors can be integrated with GPS cycling computers and various fitness software. 
  • Wrist-based monitors: These wrist units use optical sensors built into the band to monitor your pulse. While they’re usually less accurate than chest straps, they help you avoid the discomfort and fuss associated with putting on and removing the chest strap. You can wear a wrist-based monitor 24/7, except when the unit is charging, which helps you gather more detailed data. 

Relevant Features

Basic heart rate monitors time your workouts and track your heart rate during the course of your activity. However, there’s a wide range of features that today’s models come with that can help you gather different kinds of data about your fitness, helping you make plans to achieve your next fitness goal. 

  • Stopwatch and lap/split times: If you’re running laps on a track or hitting milestones on a predetermined route, you can use this feature to see how your pace changes throughout your workout. 
  • Calorie Counter: These apps can estimate the number of calories you burn during your workout. If you’re working out as part of a weight loss plan, this can be especially helpful. 
  • Tethering: This lets your device pair wirelessly with your smartphone, allowing the wrist display to let you receive text messages, play music, social media, or other notifications.