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Heart Rate Monitor: how to use it?

You’ve probably seen or heard of personal heart rate monitors before. They’re an excellent companion for improving your lifestyle and workout routine, but this sophisticated technology can get complicated.

Below, we’ll break down their uses, benefits, and how you can use heart rate monitors to further your fitness goals. 

Although complicated in their own technological right, heart rate monitors are a simple and effective way to track your workout progress and improve your routines. 

Whether you’ve thought about getting one or have already purchased one of the many products available to you, learning and adjusting to a new routine takes time. 

A little extra info can never hurt, and that’s why heart rate monitors can make all the difference in the world towards helping you advance and evolve your workout regimen. 

Heart Rate and Physical Activity

Your fitness goals are personalized and based on your preferences and what you aim to achieve. From weight loss to muscle gain, heart rate monitors can be crucial in aiding your development. 

As you steadily progress and achieve your health goals, it’s always important to keep your workout routines fresh and updated. After a while, change should be embraced. New goals should also keep you on the right track towards becoming a better and healthier individual. 

Additionally, it should be your first priority to never overexert yourself. Heart rate monitors can help you understand why your routine is and isn’t working based on how your heart responds to different activities. 

Whether you’re doing too much or too little, both can be detrimental to your health journey. 

With that in mind, let’s look at why heart rate monitors are important and how you should be using them. 

Should I Get a Heart Rate Monitor?

The journey is different for everyone. We recognize that health and fitness depend entirely on the person. Methods, goals, strategies, and technology can and should be completely different based on what you believe and what you’re aiming for. 

But again, some help along the way is never a bad thing. In today’s world of modernized medicine and health technology, it’s nice to take advantage of accessibility to your own vitals and health information to expedite your fitness process. 

How Do Heart Rate Monitors Work, and Why Are They Important? 

Heart rate monitors have been around for decades. It’s astonishing to think about how this technology has grown and evolved over the years into the state-of-the-art health tracking devices we see today. 

In a way, heart rate monitors are like the grandfather of a lot of fitness technology that is so heavily prominent in today’s society. Think of heart rate monitors as the roots or stump of the tree, and all of the other health devices that came after it as the branches and leaves. 

They’re simply a classic. The technology behind the scenes is complicated, but its uses are simple and easy. 

Your heart rate can tell you so much about your health, including your workouts and recovery. It’s one of the most important pieces of the puzzle of figuring out what works and what doesn’t. 

The human heart is, without a doubt, the most important organ in your body. It pumps blood and oxygen throughout your system. If something is wrong with your heart, chances are everything else in your body will be affected, too. 

This is why your heart rate should always be carefully monitored, especially during exercise. Rigorous activities raise your heart rate exponentially because your body and muscles need more blood and oxygen. If you’re not careful, overexertion is a real possibility. 

This brings us to our first big function of heart rate monitors. 

Tracking and Managing Overexertion

Heart rate monitors can tell you if you’re overdoing it. We’ve all done it, whether we’ve noticed it or not. Chances are you probably have because the signs can be pretty obvious. 

Being out of breath does not mean you’re overexerting yourself. However, if you’re only recently starting to exercise, it’s important to take it slow. You’ll notice that if you have taken an extended break from exercise, your heart rate will increase quicker and faster than someone who participates in daily activity. 

That’s not unusual in the slightest, and it’s only because your heart needs time to adjust just like you do. Heart rate monitors will tell you if the activity you’re engaged in might be too much to handle.

Depending on your age, everyone has a different target heart rate for exercise. A general rule to aim for is about a 50 to 70 percent increase from your resting heart rate during moderate activity. 

What’s a great way to tell your average resting heart rate, a healthy increase in your heart rate, and if you’re overexerting yourself? 

You guessed it—heart rate monitors. With a monitor, you’ll be able to quickly and easily calculate if you're overachieving (overexertion) or underachieving (lower than a 50 to 70% increase). 

Changing Your Routines Based on Your Heart Rate

If you decide to purchase a heart rate monitor, they are undeniably important in helping you change and evolve your routine to better suit your new lifestyle. 

As we previously discussed, if you are new to regular exercise or haven’t done it in a long time, your heart rate will increase quickly, and you may feel winded a lot faster. Conversely, if you’ve found a routine that works for you and you’ve consistently stuck with it, you’ll begin to notice the opposite. 

Your heart and body will adjust to your new routine over time, and eventually, you might need to step the intensity up. If you’ve stuck with the heart rate formula (50 to 70 percent increase), the same routine done repeatedly over a period of time will likely not get you to where you need to be. 

If you find that your heart rate doesn’t quite make the jump anymore like it used to, that’s okay, and it’s completely natural. If and when this happens, you should feel proud of yourself. 

You have stuck with a routine that works for you, which means your body and heart are used to the level of intensity, and it’s time for a change. By utilizing a heart rate monitor, you will detect this change a lot quicker and more efficiently so you can adjust.  

How Circular Can Help

Circular is a small ring you can wear 24/7 that can track your heart rate, sleep, breathing patterns, and so much more. This small but mighty ring will be your best friend through your health journey, whether you’re a weekend adventurer, regular gym-goer, or just someone looking to keep a closer eye on their personal health. 

The ring has two modes to best suit your needs. It can help track heart rate metrics through either continuous passive tracking or spot live measurement.

Circular uses an optical heart rate sensor to detect your blood volume changes. The ring can then count your heartbeats per minute (BPM) and relay the information to you in real time without any hassle. 

Another extremely important function of the Circular Ring is the ability to track your heart rate variability and your breathing rate. Similar to your heart rate, this information can tell you when you’re overexerting yourself.

If you decide to purchase a heart rate monitor, we highly encourage you to go for something that can help you with much more, like Circular


Heart rate monitoring: applications and limitations | PubMed

How's your heart rate and why it matters | Harvard Health

Target heart rates chart | Heart.org

Edouard Duquesne

Data Scientist at Circular, Edouard is passionate about healthcare and machine learning. His practice of CrossFit and running makes him the best beta tester of the Circular technology.

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