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Heart Rate Monitor - Strapless Or Strap?

heart rate monitor straplessA growing number of users like their heart rate monitor strapless. It is more comfortable. But does it lead to inferior and inaccurate readings? Here are some comments:

Los Angeles Times:

Love monitoring your heart rate, but hate wearing the tight, uncomfortable transmitter chest strap? You're not alone, as the sudden rise of the strapless heart rate monitor indicates. Popular with walkers and gym rats but viewed skeptically by hard-core athletes for a perceived lack of accuracy and potential danger during cycling (you have to take one hand off the handlebar to get a reading), strapless monitors come in convenient wristwatch and finger-ring form. There's even a breakthrough design that incorporates a chest transmitter into a bra and shirt.

Wikipedia:

Strapless heart rate monitors are available as well, but lack some of the functionality of the original design....Some newer monitors have replaced the plastic straps with fabric sensors for comfort or garment integration. The new smart fabric technology has some promise to eliminate the need for elastic straps that hold the transmitter with embedded electrodes in contact with the chest.

Livestrong.com:

Unlike heart rate monitors that measure impulses by being strapped directly to your chest, strapless heart monitors measure your heart rate by detecting impulses in your fingertip. These impulses are then transmitted to a computer chip located in the monitor and translated into digital readings onto the screen. Unlike heart rate monitors that provide continuous data because they are strapped to your chest for the duration of the workout, strapless monitors only provide information when the two fingers are placed on the monitor.

Heart rate is the rate of heart contractions over a given time period, according to HealthCheckSystems.com. Although the readings may not be as frequent a strapless heart rate monitor; strapless versions are said to be as accurate as an electrocardiogram, or ECG, machines in their ability to pick up electrical impulses produced by the heart and read in the fingertips.

Simply Fitness Gear:

For those who find a chest strap uncomfortable, (although most people hardly notice wearing one during a workout), there are strapless heart rate monitors such as the Mio Shape heart rate monitor [picture].

These do tend to be less accurate than those with the chest transmitter and some strapless monitors (in particular those with motion / optical sensing) have been found to be unreliable.

An effective strapless heart rate monitor generally works by placing two fingers on small metal sensors on the heart monitor and you may have to stop exercising from 4 to 12 seconds to take your pulse rate.

However using a strapless heart rate monitor is still easier than heart rate monitoring using just your fingers, your pulse and the second hand on your watch!

Heart rate monitor - strapless or strap? The choice is yours.

* For more information see my reports Strapless Heart Rate Monitors and Guide to Buying the Best Heart Rate Monitor. And check out the heart rate monitor bestseller rankings at Amazon.com to see what people are currently buying.

November 26th, 2009

 

See Also:

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Mio Shape Heart Rate Monitor
Nike Heart Rate Monitor
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Omron Heart Rate Monitor
Omron HR-100C Heart Rate Monitor
Oregon Scientific Heart Rate Monitor
Polar F4 Heart Rate Monitor Watch
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Sportline Heart Rate Monitor
Suunto Heart Rate Monitor
Timex Heart Rate Monitor
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