Have you tried a heart rate monitor out on your mobile device yet? It’s easy to get your heart rate but then what? Do you know exactly what to do when you get that magic bpm figure? Don’t stress (more on that later). As usual at The Lowdown, we've got all the answers...
What do you use a heart rate monitor for?
Your heart rate is an accurate indicator of how hard you’re exercising, so using a monitor can help you calculate your ideal training pace or workout intensity. A good target is 50-85% of your maximum heart rate, and you can calculate your maximum heart rate as 220 minus your age. This is a rough guide only, so if you’re a member of a gym we’d recommend you get advice from a personal trainer. They should be able to do a few quick tests and give you an accurate assessment of your target and maximum heart rates.
You can also use a heart rate monitor to track your general health, by recording your ‘at rest’ heart level at the same time each day. The number of beats per minute can help give you a rough idea of your overall fitness levels (between 60 and 100bpm is the normal adult resting heart rate for most people), and any changes could indicate a possible health issue.
Heart rate monitoring apps for your phone
Even if your smartphone doesn’t have an inbuilt heart rate monitor, there are quite a few apps that take advantage of your phone’s camera and flash to monitor your heart rate. Here are a few of the most interesting apps that use this feature:
RUNTASTIC HEART RATE MONITOR
(FREE on iOS & Android)
Runtastic is one of the best apps for measuring your heart rate with your smartphone camera. You can use it to accurately monitor different types of heart rate (pre and post workout, for example) and track the results on user friendly graphs.
(FREE on iOS & Android)
Heart rate monitors aren’t just for exercise. This Stress Check app promises to measure variations in your heart rate to assess your stress levels. And if you do get stressed, you might want to check out the related app called Stress Doctor(£3.99 on iOS).
(FREE on iOS)
Have you ever thought that life would be so much easier if your relationships were ‘auto-managed’? Nope, neither have we – but this is what Pplkpr can do for you. It monitors your heart rate as you interact with people, and then determines who should be ‘removed’ from your life. Charming.
A future in mobile gaming?
We think that good heart rate monitors are a worthwhile addition to the world of mobile health and fitness. So what can we expect from them in the future? The technology at the moment seems to be accurate enough for the average gym bunny, so perhaps innovation will come from elsewhere – what about the world of gaming?
We’ve heard some interesting gaming ideas based on heart rate monitoring, including horror themed games that become more difficult depending on how stressed you get. It’s going to be interesting to see what game and app developers are going to do with heart rate monitoring over the next year or so. As ever, we’ll keep you updated.
Over to you - do you have any handy hints and tips on using heart rate monitors as part of your fitness routine? Or do you use it for something else? Feel free to share your comments below.