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What’s Up with Heart Rate?  People used to use the talk test to gauge their workout intensity – if they could talk to someone else relatively easily, that meant that their intensity wasn’t too high. If they were gasping for air, they needed to slow down.  Fortunately, in today’s tech-savvy world, heart rate monitors take the guesswork out of intensity feedback during workouts.  Here are a few benefits of using a heart rate monitor.

A moist chest strap picks up your heart rate and transmits this information to a wristwatch receiver or to an exercise machine, which the displays your heart rate in beats per minute (BPM). This way, you get feedback at any time during your routine about how hard your body is working.

You may think that a heart rate monitor is unnecessary, since you can simply assess how you are feeling during exercise. But our own subjective gauge isn’t always accurate, like when we’re fatigued and therefore perceive that we are working harder than we really are.

Heart rate monitors today are available for as little as $40 and come in a variety of sophistication levels. You can consult online resources, heart rate monitor manufacturers of a fitness professional to determine what your target heart rate zone should be during exercise, and then follow your body’s responses during various workouts. Many cardiovascular machines now let you program in specific heart rates, and they adjust resistance throughout the workout to keep you in your prescribed zone.

The real beauty of the monitor is that it provides objective, physiological feedback that enables you to adjust your intensity level at any time to help maximize the effectiveness of your workout. I never workout without mine!