Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Polar FT60 Heart Rate Monitor

When I bought my Garmin, I thought I'd never feel inclined to buy another fitness watch again.


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But as I learned while doing Insanity, when you try to use a running device during a regular cardio workout, the distance value that gets plugged into the watch's formula is zero.  And zero times anything is zero.  I later learned that my Garmin model doesn't track calorie burns for cross-training (the CX models do).  Luckily, I plugged in some numbers online to get that number, so no big deal.  I just wanted a number so I could tell how hard I was working (and how many candies I would need afterward... =P).

As an even bigger issue, I was wary of the accuracy of Garmin's heart-rate monitor, as sometimes I'd be dog tired, heart exploding in my chest, and my heart rate would jump way low.  After a month of this, I decided to take the plunge and buy a dedicated heart-rate monitor.

My verdict so far: totally worth it.

Here are the pros of this particular dedicated HRM:

- no need to charge: operates like a regular digital watch in that sense
- tells you how many minutes you spent in each heart-rate zone
- takes a resting fitness test for you and stores the number
- tracks your stats, weight, activities, and 'sends' you reminders and records achievements
- doesn't keep telling me that I have lost satellite reception and doesn't depend on distance to start tracking
- accurately displays heart rate from moment to moment
- chest strap is pretty comfortable, even while running
- relatively light on the wrist
- no annoying touch bezel, though the buttons are small and a little hard to press but at least very intentional
- integrated with PolarPersonalTrainer.com (my Garmin won't sync with any of my computers, and I'm pretty tech-savvy, so I'm pretty sure the mechanism is defunct) 

Of course, the main con is that there is no distance tracking, which is definitely something that Garmin seems to do best right now.  Still, for runs of a known distance, workouts other than running, including strength training, I can use my new Polar as some indicator of how hard I'm working and how my body responds to exercise from day to day.

I used to think that heart rate isn't important, but just like any other muscle, the heart should be considered something you need to be careful not to strain too quickly.  And in general, it's tough to know externally how it's doing.  I'm still learning where my heart rate SHOULD be during workouts, but I'm sure I'll get a good idea once I use this more often.

1 comment:

  1. Absolutely in the market for a Heart Rate monitor. The ones on the treadmill at my gym are completely off, I can tell. I might have to look this up.

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