Heart Rate Monitors Buyers Guide

Exercise equipment has advanced tremendously over the last decade. Today you can run on your treadmill at home, and then slide it under your bed. At the gym, you can choose a program that will do everything but exercise for you. But, while there are smarter machines, there are still more people not reaching their exercise goals. Why? Because they were never taught how to exercise correctly.

A Heart Rate Monitor may be just the key to get you the results you're looking for. Monitoring your heart rate is the only accurate measurement of your intensity or exertion level and in order to reach your fitness goals, you need to exercise at the right intensity. Every person should be exercising at a different intensity depending on their age, health and fitness level in order to effectively and safely lose weight, build endurance or improve cardiovascular fitness. Polar Heart Rate Monitors are probably the best and most advanced monitors on the market but we offer heart rate monitors from several different manufacturers so you can find the one that meets your needs. Polar designs heart rate monitors specifically for women (Polar F4 Heart Rate Monitor), for runners (Polar RS200SD Runner's Heart Rate Monitor) or for a variety of users (Polar F6 Heart Rate Monitor). The Polar F11 Heart Rate Monitor is an exerciser's dream come true. It's the world's only heart rate monitor that creates a workout program to tell you how much, how hard and how long to exercise to reach your goals. We also offer other fitness monitors and training aids for exercising such as pedometers, stop watches and other devices.

A Heart Rate Monitor is a tool that will help pace you. If you exercise too hard, you will most likely quit before you get the real benefit. We have all seen the person who gets on the treadmill, cranks it up to 8% grade and 8 mph, runs full out for 2 minutes, and gets off. ALL THEY DID WAS WASTE TWO MINUTES OF THEIR TIME!

On the other hand, there are people who exercise very leisurely and wonder why they can't lose any weight. If you workout too slowly, you won't get the exercise benefit either.

That's where the HRM comes in. It paces you during your workout. It's like having a personal trainer that tells you to slow down or speed up. It also helps you diversify your workout and integrate different activities so you don't get bored. Right now, how would you know that you're getting a similar workout from a treadmill, a weight circuit or jumping rope? You probably really can't tell. It's not how you feel, or how much you are perspiring. Your heart rate can tell you. With a heart rate monitor you can ensure that you're working out at the right intensity, no matter what activity you choose. Run on a treadmill, jump rope, in-line skate, go for a hike...these can all be parts of an effective exercise program because now you can tell what kind of workout you're getting. The HRM makes that possible.

If you are new to exercise, it can be daunting to walk into the gym and figure out what to do. You get on a piece of equipment and it?s asking you for level, speed, incline. How do you know what?s right? All you have to do is figure out your 60-70% Target Zone, program it into your heart rate monitor, start the equipment and go. You can elevate the level, speed, whatever?..just make sure whatever you are doing, your heart rate stays in that zone. It takes the guesswork out of exercise and gives you the confidence to know that you?re doing it right.

If you're very new to the concept of heart rate training, you might be wondering WHAT'S A HEART RATE MONITOR (HRM). It consists of a watch worn on your wrist, and a transmitter that you comfortably wear against your skin and around your chest. The transmitter picks up the signals of your heart, and sends them wirelessly to the watch you wear on your wrist. It's that simple. No wires, no stopping to take your pulse and doing a multiplication equation. Just look at your wrist and it's there. AND THE KEY, IT'S DISPLAYED CONTINUOUSLY. The continuous display is what makes it effective. It's there guiding you during your whole workout.

Here's how you can integrate a HRM into your exercise program

There are specific Target Zones (TZ) that help guide you to the right intensity. A target zone is a high and low heart rate range that is based on a percentage of your maximum heart rate. You can use a formula based on your age to figure out your maximum heart rate. You then take percentages of that to get your Target Zones.

Find Your Target Zone
Age 65% - 75% of Max Heart Rate
Light to Moderate
75% - 85% of Max Heart Rate
Moderate to Heavy
20 130 - 150 150 - 170
25 127 - 146 146 - 166
30 123 - 142 142 - 161
35 120 - 138 138 - 157
40  117 - 135 135 - 153
45 114 - 131 131 - 149
50 110 - 127 127 - 144
55 107 - 124 124 - 140
60 104 - 120 120 - 136
65 101 - 116 116 - 132
70 97 - 112 112 - 127

Key Target Zones

  • 60-70% of max heart rate: Good for weight loss, building endurance or recovery
  • 70-80% of max heart rate: Good for improving cardiovascular fitness
  • 80%+ of max heart rate: Good for interval workouts


Gerry is 45 years old, wants to lose weight, and exercises three days a week, sometimes for 10 minutes, sometimes for 20 minutes and is just not sure how hard to go.

*Her estimated max heart rate is 220-(age) 45=175

The recommended target zone is 60-70 %

60% of 175=105

70% of 175=123

Gerry?s target zone is 105-123

Gerry should exercise three days a week for at least 30 minutes and keep her heart rate between 105 and 123 for effective weight loss. IT'S THAT SIMPLE!

If you are just starting to exercise, or are trying to take your exercise to the next level, you should check with your doctor to make sure that it is safe for you to do so.