Heart rate monitors

Discussion in 'Health and Fitness' started by Rockhopperst4, Nov 22, 2006.

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  1. Anyone use them? I bought a Polar one a few weeks ago. Now apparently the way to work out your max heart rate is 220 less your age so mine is 179. The other night my heart rate was just touching 190 on a fast uphill run. I wasn't in any discomfort, pain or anything.
    My question therefore is it dangerous to hit that kind of heart rate? Also is it risky to sustain it for any length of time?
  2. I'm sure there are other threads on this subject.

    I wouldn't worry too much, according to my HRM I'm only 19 (and I'm actually twice as old!).

    Try www.runnersworld.co.uk for more advice.
  3. I wouldn't worry overly much about it if I were you. I got meself one of those gadgets too a while ago. It turned out that about five minutes into each run, my heart-rate went up to between 200 and 220 for about ten minutes, then dropped back to a steady 120 and stayed there no matter what else I did. I don't bother with the thing now.

    Take heart (not a pun) from the fact that, as long as your ticker's healthy (and it sounds as if yours is), you can't overstrain it. You'll flakey long before you get to that point.

  4. the one i use has a similar anomaly. i'll set off and at various points the monitor will hit the max. mark (220) then drop back to the correct reading. but i won't have increased speed or anything. it's probably one of those 'techy' things they put in these gadgets to freak the users out with.

    that aside, i think it's a top piece of gear. i used to set off and end up burning myself out within 25 minutes, now i keep my eye on it and end up running for hours. if the one you have has a 'calories expended' display, aim for 3500 at the end :lol: according to mine i shift about 750 cals an hour. you need to have music on to take the boredom away tho'
  5. I get that too, usually when running near power lines or Mobile masts (or whatever you call them)
  6. Cheers Bugsy and the rest. It was a bit of a worry when i saw what it was reading but i'd come to the same conclusion as you really - if it was a problem then i'd be feelin something.

    I don't believe the monitor is giving spurious readings though, i borrowed a mates and it gave similar readings.

    The difficult thing is trying to keep it down below 85% of max which is where the most benefit is and the most calories are burnt.
  7. I know what you mean, on a normally paced run I'm at over 90% of my theoretical max.....mind you, I'm a biff!

    To get it down to the "fat-burning zone" I'd have to be going really slowly.
  8. 220-age is what GP's use to assess max heart rate and is certainly no indicator of your ACTUAL max, as some of you have experienced. It is very loose to say the least and no real coach or athlete uses it nowadays.

    If you are fit and healthy, you should do your own max HR test, which involves warming up for 20 minutes, building up to BFT pace, and just as you hit a big jaggy hill, you start to sprint and continue until exhaustion, keeping an eye on recorded max HR.

    You can then work out your training zones in percentages from this.

    More precisely, work out your training zones using this formula, once you know your REAL max HR:

    Max HR minus resting HR = HR Range

    Use HR Range to find your 50, 60, 70, 80, 90%'s and then add your resting HR back on - HR Range x 50/100% (for 50%) plus HR Range

    This is the most accurate way to use your max HR for running.

    For cycling or other sports, don't just use your running max HR, as it will be different due to the different muscle groups being brougt into consideration, carry out another max HR test on the bike or ski's or whatever.
  9. Alsacien

    Alsacien LE Moderator

    As a long time user of various models I will throw in a few things I have picked up:

    Polar uses an encrypted signal which does not interfere with other users close by - some other makes pick up multiple signals and you get crap.

    Use the software on your PC to identify and remove any peaks that are obviously interference eg overhead power lines, electric train/tram lines, etc.

    Some people have high heart rates when pushing themselves, sometimes even moderately. As long as you have normal blood pressure, a reasonably low resting pulse and no other significant medical issues it is not a concern - if you are worried get checked out.

    If you care about your training do some baseline tests at proper sports clinic for athletes. This will give you blood pressure, heart rate, work rate, O2 uptake - all under load, for example on an exercise bike.
    You can also use this to fine tune your training. For example me (very fit) always used to run army style, eg as hard/long/fast as possible - always ending a run bolluxed. I found out through testing that I performed best in the upper 15 % of my (tested) max, but that my O2 uptake was crap at some lower points - for me pulse rate zone 145-155. This is because when I run or cross country ski its always over 155. When I mountain bike I can hit 190 but I average about 135 over 4-5 hours. But I did no sport that put me in the 145-155 zone for long, I was always passing through it. When the test showed this it showed that me body went into a sort of O2 deprivation when coming out of this zone and took a while to catch up. I spent 6 months doing a couple of hours a week on a cross trainer in this zone and made massive improvements to my overall work capacity in all zones - science pays!
    I still run army style - some habits are hard to break....
  10. Not all the Polar units are encrypted, my F5 isn't but my mates F6 is so thats okay! I also can't upload my data to my PC which is a shame but it did only cost £25 brand new.

    An interesting comparison came to light the other night. We went out mountain biking after work. We did about 12 miles in 1hr 20 mins. He burnt 750 calories while i did a massive 1250! He's four years younger and about three stone lighter than me (and a heck of a lot fitter).
  11. to add to what i was on about. for me, these HRM's are purely a 'novelty' gadget to use for reference ie.current HR, etc. i don't bother uploading my details to my rig after i've finished running. it's just something to keep my eye on when i am running. i aim for about a 140-160 bpm pace. at that speed it doesn't seem as if my heart is going to exit my chest alien style :lol:

    they are handy to an extent, in that i can get a rough idea of how much calories have been burned off during my activity. for example (needless plug here) i was out today and did 11 mile and that shifted almost 2000 kcals and it took 2½ hours. a few weeks ago i did 20 over 4½ hrs and that only shifted 3500kcals. mental eh? a "for reference" gadget only (for me).
  12. My opinion is thats its a good training aid i wont run without mine

    I dont believe in using the calorie counter as those sort of things to my mind are just bullshti
  13. The point about the calorie counter is that heaver people burn more calories than lighter people for the same amount of exercise.
    Which i thought was interesting.
  14. I was advised to use the Borg Percieved Exertion Scale in conjunction with a HRM, but this was part of a cardiac rehab program, so it may not be relevant.

    Heart attack 2 days after my 39th birthday,not good!!!
  15. I may be wrong about this but doesnt metabalism (spelt wrong i think!) have a lot to do with how many calories you burn and no HRM that I'm aware can test that!

    Plus it has a lot to do with body type I personally don't pay any attention to them other than it lets me know i can have another pudding! lol