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Heart Rate Monitor?
Old 08-24-2012, 02:11 AM   #1
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Heart Rate Monitor?

Anyone use one? How do you pick one? I am enjoying the book Younger Next Year. I had a HRM a few years ago and itwas a bit inconsistant in the sensor/watch link and producing useful displays. I do not want to train to the HRM but think it would be a useful reference to see where I am when running, on the stepper, dancing and walking. Maybe pushing myself a bit could be useful and this could be a guide. Also useful for not going to too high a HR, I had that when playing basketball a couple years back and hit 200+ on the HRM, decided to take a brake. Also I have occasional episodes of A-fib, how does a HRM handle those?
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Old 08-24-2012, 05:08 AM   #2
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I use a Garmin FR60 watch with HRM when running & cycling. It works very well and is NOT a GPS unit. I am not sure if they sell them anymore. The salient features can be found here: DC Rainmaker: Garmin FR60 Review – In Depth

I like to plot parameters versus time or distance. The watch is relatively small, so it does not stand out. If you want to show off that you are a mega-triathlon jock connected with GPS, then this is not the device for you.
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Old 08-24-2012, 06:06 AM   #3
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I used one briefly, also after reading YNY. Later I concluded that I wasn't really training at a level that requires a monitor. I ride a bike several times a week but it is for enjoyment - I don't want to turn it into a job. I would also recommend reading Body by Science for a different perspective on exercise.
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Old 08-24-2012, 06:53 AM   #4
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My wife & I each have the Polar FT7. Seemed like the best compromise of features and price for us. So far they have been working pretty good but you really have to keep the strap clean. Using it 6 days a week, it gets gunked up with sweat pretty quickly. If you are not tracking calories you could probably get by with a cheaper model but knowing our calories burned was our primary requirement. Now that we are tracking calories burned and calories consumed we are getting great results.
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Old 08-24-2012, 08:07 AM   #5
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I use the basic Polar HRM and use it a couple of times a week, usually when I play tennis to ensure that I don't over do things. I've noticed that I can't tell how fast my heart is racing just by how I feel.

It's also useful when using a treadmill or elliptical trainer in the gym as it operates on the same frequency so I don't need to wear the watch display on the wrist. These days I have no target heart rates I try and maintain, but like to ensure I'm not over doing things.
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Old 08-24-2012, 08:10 AM   #6
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My wife and I both use Polar HRMs often. If you're biking, running or walking it's nice to know when to pick up the pace, or slow down to stay within target range. Ours beep above and below range (I think all Polars do) so you don't even have to look at the watch. Of course, the user can set the high and low HR as they see fit. We also have a treadmill that reads the HR from the Polar Chest strap and adjusts the incline (and speed to a lesser extent) to keep us within target range. They're nifty for exercise...

You have to wear the chest strap pretty snug to get a consistent signal to the watch. If you're so inclined, putting some spit between the sensor (in the middle front of the strap) and your chest usually provides good contact/signal immediately. If not, once you start sweating the signal will probably improve, but I want a HR from the first step.

I think they're worthwhile. The only issue is when the battery dies on the chest strap, the user can't really replace it, you're supposed to send it back to Polar. It's about the same price to buy a whole new watch/chest strap if you're just buying the basic models.

And it's not hard at all to check your HR with a finger on your neck or wrist and any watch that shows second if you want to know casually. We just count beats for 6 seconds and multiply by 10, that's always accurate enough. FWIW...
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Old 08-24-2012, 08:24 AM   #7
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I had one for a while but after using it for a short time decided to not us it any more. Having to put on the plastic on my chest was fun at first but after awhile was feeling like an ankle bracklet .
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Old 08-24-2012, 09:53 AM   #8
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DW uses Polar FT7. She likes it a lot. She was even serious enough to get her VO2max measured to calibrate the HRM.
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Old 08-24-2012, 10:17 AM   #9
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You have to wear the chest strap pretty snug to get a consistent signal to the watch. If you're so inclined, putting some spit between the sensor (in the middle front of the strap) and your chest usually provides good contact/signal immediately. If not, once you start sweating the signal will probably improve, but I want a HR from the first step.

I think they're worthwhile. The only issue is when the battery dies on the chest strap, the user can't really replace it, you're supposed to send it back to Polar. It's about the same price to buy a whole new watch/chest strap if you're just buying the basic models.
Run the strap under water before putting it on - just get the two areas wet that have the electrodes. Another reason we got the FT7 was that the batteries are easy to replace - a "must have" feature IMO.
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Old 08-24-2012, 11:26 AM   #10
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Run the strap under water before putting it on - just get the two areas wet that have the electrodes. Another reason we got the FT7 was that the batteries are easy to replace - a "must have" feature IMO.
+1

Failing that some KY jelly also works - if you don't intend to sweat
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Old 08-24-2012, 11:29 AM   #11
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I have the Polar FT7 too, and just run the chest strap under water at the sinks at the gym just before I put it on. That doesn't bother me because I am drenched by the end of a workout anyway (sorry if TMI). The chest strap is stretchy and comfortable, and doesn't have to be anywhere near as snug as the bra strap just above it. The batteries in this model of Polar is user-replaceable, and I believe all models of Polar HRMs may have user-replaceable batteries by now.

I chose the FT7 because Polar is supposed to make the best HRM's, and because the FT7 provides the output that I want. Originally I was interested in the Polay FT60, because it has wonderful reviews, but I decided it was a more expensive, more complex HRM than I wanted.

I like wearing an HRM during my workouts. It has performed flawlessly thus far, never having even the slightest difficulty in picking up my heart rate. During the workout, I can see my heart rate on the watch part and that helps me to decide if it is time for another set yet. Also, all the cardio machines at the gym pick up the heart rate transmission and display it without the need for any action on my part. I find the HRM to be very motivational.

It also helps me to recognize when I might be overdoing, and after a workout I can see if I slacked off or did well.

Unexpectedly, I found that my average and maximum heart rate actually are higher (for me only) during weight lifting than they are when I am riding an exercycle for the same amount of time. That leads me to believe that perhaps for me (only), weight lifting in the way that I lift weights may provide some cardio benefit as well.
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Old 08-24-2012, 11:49 AM   #12
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I had a Polar, and wouldn't get another one. It just stops reading the heart rate. Sent it back for repair, all they did was replace the battery. Still stops reading heart rate. Threw it away. Perhaps I should try the Garmin?
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Old 08-24-2012, 12:08 PM   #13
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Polar HRMs are useful. I just wipe the strap off with a damp cloth then dry after using. I like the tracking the watch part does - time in zone, etc.

My skin seems to be moist enough that I don't have to wet the strap before putting it on.

My highest cardio readings come when I am doing whole body moves (freestanding) with weights like lunges with weights, etc.
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Old 08-24-2012, 12:42 PM   #14
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+1

Failing that some KY jelly also works - if you don't intend to sweat
Kentucky jelly?
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Old 08-24-2012, 12:58 PM   #15
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Kentucky jelly?
That's the stuff - and in England they use it in pork pies.

KY looks like the stuff they use on those high voltage paddles to re-start stopped hearts as it increases the conductivity of electrodes.
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Old 08-24-2012, 03:16 PM   #16
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I had a Polar in the past which worked fine. I recently got a Garmin to go with my Concept2 rower and it also works fine. I also got a watch with it so I can use it for exercise not on the rower. If you have a piece of fitness equipment that will read a HRM you need to know what brand it will read as not all equipment will read all brands. At one time I bought a Timex HRM and I had a treadmill at the time which would read my Polar HRM but would not read the Timex HRM.
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Old 08-24-2012, 11:00 PM   #17
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Unexpectedly, I found that my average and maximum heart rate actually are higher (for me only) during weight lifting than they are when I am riding an exercycle for the same amount of time. That leads me to believe that perhaps for me (only), weight lifting in the way that I lift weights may provide some cardio benefit as well.
Or that (*groan*) it's time to boost the resistance on the exercycle...
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Old 08-24-2012, 11:38 PM   #18
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Or that (*groan*) it's time to boost the resistance on the exercycle...
Boo!! Boo!!! What a rotten idea!
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