Tech Review: Instant Heart Rate App by Azumio

What Is A Heart Rate Monitor?

A heart rate monitor measures your pulse and blood pressure every few minutes. They work like a watch that tells you when it’s time to wake up or go to sleep. You wear the device while exercising, sleeping, or doing other activities which require extra energy expenditure such as running, lifting weights or playing sports. The more activity you do, the higher your heart beats will become and thus increase your body temperature and sweat production. Your heart rate monitors these changes and adjusts your breathing patterns accordingly. This helps keep you alert during exercise and sleep.

How Does A Heart Rate Monitor Work?

Your heart rate monitor uses sensors placed around your chest to measure the amount of oxygenated blood flowing through them. These sensors detect the difference between the amount of oxygenated blood coming out of your lungs (oxygenation) and what comes in from your mouth (deoxygenation). If your heart rate goes above a certain level, then you’re at risk of having a stroke. When your heart rate exceeds 80 beats per minute, you have a heart attack.

The Benefits Of Using A Heart Rate Monitor

Heart rate monitors provide many benefits to their users. Here are some of them:

Reduces stress levels by helping you stay calm during physical exertion and sleep.

Increases performance in sports and other activities by helping you achieve the right heart rate and providing a performance chart for easy tracking.

Helps to correct your natural heart rhythm after a cardiac event such as a heart attack or stroke.

Tracks your weight, blood pressure, and other vitals on your mobile phone or computer dashboard.

How Often Should You Measure Your Heart Rate?

Most heart rate monitors measure your heart rate every five minutes. This is good enough to keep a record of your heart beat over a 24-hour period and highlight any changes in your heart rhythm. You should measure your pulse before starting any physical activity. This way, you can check if your pulse increases as expected at the start of activity. Changes in your heart rate can also indicate health problems such as low or high blood pressure.

How To Get The Most Out Of Your Heart Rate Monitor

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Use your heart rate monitor on a daily basis to keep track of any changes in your resting heart rate. This will help you monitor any potential cardiac issues.

Wear your heart rate monitor any time you exercise. This includes short walks, jogging, and other recreational activities.

Use your heart rate monitor to calibrate your target heart rate during exercise. Most people achieve their target heart rate by feeling. However, this is an inaccurate way of checking your target heart rate.

If you wear a heart rate monitor when you exercise, then you can directly check your target heart rate without having to guess.

You don’t need to wear your heart rate monitor all the time. If you calculate your target heart rate correctly, then you can achieve this heart rate even when you’re not wearing a high-tech gadget on your wrist. Just make sure you wear it for the first few weeks while you’re getting used to it.

Cautions When Using A Heart Rate Monitor

Your resting heart rate is normally irregular. That’s why you should measure your pulse before starting any activity. Then, you need to wait five minutes to get an average resting pulse.

Your target heart rate should also be around 60% of your maximum heart rate when you’re doing less strenuous exercise. For more strenuous exercise, your target heart rate should only be 80% of your maximum heart rate.

If you’re taking any medication, then consult your physician before using a heart rate monitor. Certain types of medication can affect the accuracy of your heart rate monitor.

Don’t use a heart rate monitor if you’re experiencing an allergic reaction, have diabetes, or are pregnant.

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High levels of stress can also affect the accuracy of your resting heart rate. Your body can’t naturally adjust to a sudden surge in adrenaline caused by a stressful situation. This sudden increase in adrenaline can give you a reading that’s lower than your actual resting heart rate.

What To Look For In A Heart Rate Monitor

Now that you know how to use a heart rate monitor and why you should use one, let’s look at some important features that you should consider when choosing a heart rate monitor.

Wrist or Chest

The first thing you need to decide is whether you want a chest strap monitor or a wrist monitor. Wrist monitors are more comfortable and convenient to use when exercising. They’re also easier to use for light exercise that doesn’t cause much movement.

However, they can be uncomfortable if you have a large build and can slip around on your wrist when you’re very active.

On the other hand, chest strap monitors are more accurate than wrist monitors. They can also give an accurate reading regardless of how active you are. Chest strap monitors are more appropriate if you’re doing strenuous exercise or if you have a large body frame.

Make sure that any chest strap monitor is adjustable and won’t slip off your chest when you’re working out.

Memory

Memory capability is important if you want to keep track of your heart rate and other biometric information over time. Most monitors will store the last few reading so that you can see them after you’ve taken the monitor off. Monitors with memory capability will store a larger number of readings for you to look back on.

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Pre-programmed Workouts

Workouts are a great way to get in shape and stay in shape. The problem is most of us don’t have the time to go to the gym to use their equipment, or we’re too busy to drive somewhere to work out. This is where having a heart rate monitor with pre-programmed workouts come in handy.

You can do the workout at home or anywhere you can take your monitor.

There are two types of workouts you can do: interval training and constant intensity. Interval training involves periods of high intensity work accompanied by lower intensity work. For example, you could have a 30 second high intensity period alternated with a 60 second low intensity period.

In constant intensity workouts, you keep your heart rate at a certain level for a set amount of time. For example, you could keep your heart rate at 50% of your maximum for 40 minutes. Interval training is a great way to maximize your workout and get the most out of your time.

USB or Batteries

If you choose a model that needs batteries, then you’ll need to find a pair of batteries that are easy to find and can last through a few workouts without needing to be replaced. If you choose a model that charges via USB, then you can just charge it up using your laptop or a portable USB charger.

Heart Rate Zones

Some monitors allow you to set different target heart rate zones so that you can work out at the right intensity. A lower heart rate zone is for low intensity workouts and a higher heart rate zone is for high-intensity interval training.

Sources & references used in this article:

Accuracy of smartphone apps for heart rate measurement by T Coppetti, A Brauchlin, S Müggler… – European journal of …, 2017 – journals.sagepub.com

The accuracy and validity of iOS-based heart rate apps during moderate to high intensity exercise by AM Bouts, L Brackman, E Martin… – … journal of exercise …, 2018 – ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

Health apps, wearables, and sensors: The advancing frontier of digital health. by K Ho, C Yao, HN Lauscher – British Columbia Medical …, 2017 – search.ebscohost.com

Real-world heart rate norms in the Health eHeart study by R Avram, GH Tison, K Aschbacher, P Kuhar… – NPJ digital …, 2019 – nature.com

Reliability and validity of a smartphone pulse rate application for the assessment of resting and elevated pulse rate by K Mitchell, M Graff, C Hedt… – Physiotherapy theory and …, 2016 – Taylor & Francis

Smartphone as a tool for the heart rate measurement by M Pawłowski, JS Gasior, E Dziedzic, T Klepko… – researchgate.net

Security and privacy issues related to the use of mobile health apps by R Adhikari, D Richards, K Scott – 2014 – openrepository.aut.ac.nz