Buying Guide: How to Choose the Best Heart Rate Monitor for You?

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Whether you’re training for a triathlon, preparing for a particular sport competition, or simply want to lose some weight, using a heart rate monitor or HRM can you help measure and improve your fitness level. An HRM measures your heart rate in real time and lets your record it to track your progress. 

heart rate monitor is the best device to understand how your body is responding to physical activity. Just like a car burns fuel to create energy, our heart needs to pump oxygen-rich blood from the lungs to the muscles. The harder we exercise, the more fuel our muscles demand, and the harder our heart beats. This process is measured in “beats per minute,” or BPM. Seeing how hard and efficiently your heart is pumping tells you when to dial it up or tone it down to achieve the results you want to get with your workout.

Active Stride features several brands that provide heart rate monitoring, and these brands have several models. Here are a few questions that would help you pick one that perfectly matches your needs and lifestyle:

  1. Would you like prefer an HRM without a chest strap?
  2. Would you be using your HRM with a smart phone?
  3. Would you like to use an HRM with accelerometer?
  4. Would you like to use an HRM (chest strap) with wrist & bike units?

1. Would you like prefer an HRM without a chest strap?

If you would prefer to use strap-less HRMs, you can use optical heart rate monitors instead. Optical HRMs can check your heart rate using a sensor that measures the pulse on your wrists. It uses light to calculate the blood flow under your skin. Here are a couple of watches that include optical HRM.
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2. Would you be using your HRM with a smart phone?

If you plan to use your HRM with your mobile device, make sure that it has Bluetooth Smart capability. This lets you transfer workout and performance data transferred wirelessly from your HRM to your phone. You can then view this information through smart phone apps that work with your HRM.

Here’s the list of HRMs you can pair with a smart phone via Bluetooth:
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3. Would you like to use an HRM with accelerometer?

If you would like to capture data from your treadmill workout on your phone or sportwatch, get an HRM with accelerometer. Accelerometers are movement monitors that can measure vertical oscillation, ground contact time, and running cadence. Here are a couple of HRM straps that has this feature.
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Garmin HRM Run
- works with Garmin Forerunner 620, 920XT, fenix 2/3
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Garmin HRM4-Run - works with Garmin Forerunner 630,  Forerunner 920XT, fenix 3, and  epix

4. Would you like to use an HRM (chest strap) with wrist & bike units?

The following heart rate monitor straps can be paired with compatible sportwatch or cycling GPS with either Bluetooth Smart or ANT+ compatible units from Garmin, Magellan, and Suunto.
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Garmin HRM4-Run - works with Garmin Forerunner 630,  Forerunner 920XT, fenix 3, and  epix
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Garmin HRM-Tri  - works with Garmin  Forerunner 920XT, fenix 3, and  epix
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Garmin HRM-Swim  - works with Garmin  Forerunner 920XT, fenix 3, and  epix
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