Heart rate monitors began as luxury treadmill options, but have quickly become a standard feature on most home machines. But have you ever wondered why they have become so ubiquitous or what the difference is between heart rate monitoring and heart rate control? You’ve come to the right place. Here is everything you need to know about treadmill heart rate monitoring:
Convenient Cardio Monitoring
Before the 1990s, treadmill users assessed their heart rates the old-fashioned way: they used a clock, two fingers, and patience. But by the mid-1990s, treadmill manufacturers started offering a more practical option: built-in electronic monitors. With electronic heart rate monitors, there’s no need to stop working out to check your heart rate. It happens automatically and accurately on most treadmills.
Cheap Monitors & Their Fancy Friends
The vast majority of mid-priced and luxury home treadmills now feature heart rate monitors. Monitors are also available on many of the newer budget treadmills like the Fuel T96. However, the monitors on cheaper treadmills aren’t always are reliable as those on machines built with better components. For example, a Fuel treadmill probably can’t boast the 99.9% accuracy of the Sole F85, a machine that costs two or three times more. It’s a good idea to read some treadmill reviews of cheaper machines before trusting their readouts. Not all heart rate monitors are considered equal and as a general rule if the price tag on any treadmill seems to good to be true, it is.
Types of Heart Rate Monitors
The most common type of treadmill heart rate monitor is a grip monitor. Grip monitors are often built into the handlebars of home treadmills, and they can be found on treadmills at just about any price point. As treadmills become more expensive, wireless heart rate monitors become more common. These are usually used in conjunction with a Velcro chest strap and a dramatically more accurate that grip monitors. Rare types of pulse monitors include thumb pulse readers and ear clips.
Heart Rate Control
While heart rate monitors are now common even on cheap machines, only the more expensive treadmills include monitors and heart rate control. Heart rate control uses data from the pulse monitor to adjust workout speed and intensity based on the user’s heart rate. This automatic adjustment helps ensure that a trainee gets the maximum benefit from each session. It takes the guesswork out of judging when to speed up or slow down. Landice treadmills, Smooth treadmills, and Epic treadmills are among the many treadmill brands now featuring heart rate control workouts.