A heart rate monitor is an electronic monitoring device that allows a person to track their heart rate on a continual basis or record it for later analysis. The devices are frequently used by athletes and sometimes by patients who are recovering from heart procedures.
Heart rate monitors are typically made of two components: a wrist receiver and a chest strap transmitter. Some models feature heart rate variability measurements and the ability to monitor one’s breathing rate to determine the fitness level of the user.
Heart rate receivers come with a variety of features. Features include calories burned, built-in speed and distance, and average heart rate over a given time period. Some have the ability to log information that can be downloaded by a computer.
Stopwatch and lap-split times is one typical feature offered. At each mile on a race course or lap of a track, the user can press a button to see how their pace has changed over the course of a workout or race.
Some models offer calorie counters. These are particularly useful for those who are using their heart rate monitors as part of a weight loss program.
Another common feature is a speed and distance monitor that calculates speed and distance covered. This can normally be done using a GPS receiver or foot pod for use indoors.
Recovery heart rate mode allows the user to keep track of the time it takes their heart to return to a normal, resting rate. This allows them to get a good indication of their cardiovascular fitness.
Some heart rate monitors feature a PC interface that allows the user to connect their monitor to their home computer and download training data for storage and later analysis. The connection could be wireless or be done via a separate connection.
Coded vs Non-Coded
Heart rate transmitters can be either coded or non-coded. One difference between the two is that when a user exercises in a public area like a gym, non-coded transmitters may receive interference from the heart rate monitors of other users in the area.
Coded transmitters are effective at reducing interference from nearby heart rate monitors. They also work with gym equipment with heart rate monitoring capability. Coded transmitters also can reduce interference from things like computers, high tension wires, and wireless cycling systems.