Best Heart Rate Monitors Guide In 2021 (Our Reviews)

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​Heart Rate Monitors Comparison Chart

Overall, the best heart rate monitor we’ve found is the Fitbit Charge 2. Despite coming at a slightly higher price than other options, it offers the ability to monitor and track exercises throughout the day, receive real-time analysis of your current health, and more. It also lasts all day with a long battery life and is supported by a 1-year warranty by one of the largest fitness gear companies in the world. If you want something to help improve your workouts and your everyday life, the Fitbit Charge 2 is for you.

Buyer’s Guide

From chest monitors that you strap on to simple wrist watches that happen to measure heart rate, there’s a ton of different heart rate monitors to choose from. In order to help you find the best heart rate monitor, we’ve included some key information to know so that you can make an informed decision about your potential purchase.

Why Buy A Heart Rate Monitor?

While just about all exercise is beneficial to your overall health, in order to get the most out of your sweat you want to be able to monitor your heart rate. As you exercise, your body requires additional blood for your muscles, leading to your heart rate increasing to keep up with the demand. While it rising too high can be a problem, maintaining between 50-85% of your maximum heart rate allows your heart to safely pump while providing the ideal amount of strain on the rest of your body, requiring more energy to function and burning more calories.

A heart rate monitor will tell you when your body is struggling to keep up with the blood and energy requirements of your exercise, which will tell you the state of your cardiovascular health and give you an idea of what exercises are working.

Which Heart Rate Monitor is Right for You?

The right heart monitor for you will depend on a variety of factors. Do you plan to use it in water? Do you want to sync it with an app on your phone, or just want a self-contained workout companion? What is your budget?

In general, you’ll want to choose a monitor that provides accurate information. The most convenient choices have a touchscreen or large display that shows the information at a glance so that you can monitor it closely while you work out rather than after. This way you can ensure you’re burning maximum fat. Additionally, if you plan to swim with it, be sure it has a waterproof rating, otherwise you may be buying yourself a new one soon.

What is Heart Rate Variability?

Heart rate variability (HVR) measures the level of variation in time between heartbeats your body experiences. Basically, it is the difference in your heart rate at its fastest and slowest. Your heart beat is regulated by your autonomic nervous system (ANS) – specifically the sympathetic (stimulation) and parasympathetic (relaxation) branches of your ANS. This system works automatically and is controlled by your brain, with each branch responding to stimuli you experience in your everyday life and adjusting your heart and body’s response accordingly.

A high HRV leads to a lower potential heart rate, which means that your body can operate with less stress on the heart due to superior cardiovascular health from a lack of stimulation from things like stress, lack of sleep, and poor diet. However, your heart can still reach the same maximum heart rate when necessary, leading you to be much more adaptable and better handle stimulation before it puts strain on the rest of you.

A low HRV often means that your brain is perceiving stress or danger, keeping your resting heart beat higher and closer to your maximum heart rate. This makes it much easier for you to enter “fight-or-flight” mode, which can lead to greater strain on your body and a harder time recovering from stressful events.

HRV is valuable to your workout companion because exercising stimulates your body, increasing your heart rate, recruiting muscles, and pumping blood where it needs to go which leads to improved cardiovascular health. Your stronger heart can then maintain a lower heart rate, both improving your ability to relax and handle stress as well as allowing you to exercise longer and more intensely because your heart rate gains additional room to rise to accommodate it.

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