Using a Heart Rate Monitor to Track Exercise

If you are tying to lose weight and you really want to know how many calories you are burning through exercise you should consider using a heart rate monitor to track your exercise.

Many people go to great lengths to determine from various online tools or books how many calories per hour they burn walking, running, swimming, biking, etc.  However, the results can vary greatly from site to site, so this is confusing and makes it hard to lose a pound since we don’t get an accurate count of our calories.

The fact is that there is an important consideration that most of those online calculators omit – your heart rate.  Whether you are working out in your target heart rate zone or below it, your heart rate has a direct impact on the number of calories that you burn.  It is the only thing in the calculation that really measures how hard you worked.

In addition to that, a heart rate monitor is the surest way to insure that you don’t exceed your maximum heart rate, which is a safety issue.

The most accurate heart rate monitors tend to be the ones with a chest strap that rests against your torso to send a signal back to the receiver, which is just a watch that you can view easily.  The receiver can be set to beep when you are outside of your target rate on many models and most models will also track calories burned (that’s what we want) as well as other statistics.

The calories from a heart rate monitor tend to be more accurate than from a calculation without heart rate because they consider not only your sex, height, weight, and age, but your actual physical exertion during your workout.  So if you want to really know your calories, get yourself a good heart rate monitor.

Lessons Learned:

  • a more accurate way to track calories burned is with a heart rate monitor
  • a heart rate monitor can also help keep you in your target heart rate
  • you should choose a heart rate monitor that calculates calories and takes inputs on your sex, age, weight, and height for best accuracy

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