A Heart Rate Monitor (HRM) electronically measures how fast your heart is beating and displays it on a read-out dial. They can be chest straps and/or watches. Not all running watches come with built in heart monitors.
As a rough guide the very cheapest monitor can start at £30 and go up to £300.
Different features of HRM's
- Target Zone Alarm - an alarm that sounds when you go out of your targeted zone so you can change your pace (up or down) to maintain the same level.
- Target Zone Memory -retains memory of your target zone and exercise at that level, so you can review it later.
- Ability to download your exercise information to a computer
- Multiple User Option - allows you to share the watch and put different data into the HRM
- Pedometer - a feature to count your actual steps taken, either during the course of your day or during exercise
- Recovery heart rate - allows the user to monitor the amount of time it takes their body to get back to their normal state
- Calorie calculator - calculates the calories burned in an exercise session
- Water resistant - useful even if not using it to swim so it can handle sweat and rainy weather conditions
Think about what kind of display you want. Some have a lot of information on the face while others limit the information available at one time but give a few pieces of critical information on a larger display.
If you are working out in low-light conditions think about choosing a lighted display.
If you are choosing a watch heart rate monitor many can be used as a regular watch when not exercising. Check what extra functions it comes with such as alarms, calendars, stopwatches etc.