How do I Choose the Right Heart Rate Monitor?
Recently, Valencell’s technology was featured in Fitness Electronics Review as part of a blog post about selecting a heart rate monitor. Depending on your situation the right sensor device can help to guide your workout, track your fitness and progress, and coach you along the way. Consider two important factors when picking a heart rate monitor: 1) form factor and 2) use case.
There are really two types of devices to consider when selecting a heart rate monitor: sensing devices (in the form of an earbud, chest strap or sensors that are touched to enable data collection) and output devices (in the form of smart phones, watches, displays on cardio equipment). Furthermore, there are two major types of heart rate sensing modes: 1) acute and 2) continuous. The acute method measures heart rate with the user touching electrodes with their hands or fingers. The continuous method measures heart rate without the user having to think about touching electrodes.
Form-factor is critical for your personal preferences on comfort and ease-of-wear. For example, if you don’t mind wearing a chest strap, and you want to measure your heart rate continuously (hands-free) during a run, a chest strap may be the best option for you. However, a contact-mode wristwatch may be all you need if you don’t mind having to press buttons during your workout to measure heart rate during a specific time. In contrast, if you want continuous hands-free heart rate monitoring with audio guiding or simply do not like wearing chest straps, Valencell’s biometric audio earbud technology may be your best choice of form-factor.
The use-case is also important to consider. What is done with the data from the heart rate sensors is highly variable depending on the output device you are using. Everything from simple heart rate to guided voice feedback on training intensity and recovery is possible. Realize that the output device needs to be usable for you in that it is easy to navigate through and provides enough data for benefit without overwhelming you. For example, if you already bring your phone with you to the gym, perhaps a smartphone is the best output device for you. But if you do not like bringing your smartphone with you during exercise, consider output devices that are worn at the wrist.
Look out for an upcoming blog post on output devices such as smartphones, specialized watches and other technologies.