Polar Heart Monitors, Heart Rate Watches - train safely in your heart rate training zones

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A Buyers Guide to Heart Rate Monitors for fat burning, general exercise and
heart rate training

If you feel it’s significant to monitor your weight when on a diet, or look in a mirror at your muscle development after starting a weight-training program, then heart monitoring during exercise should be a top priority. Unfortunately many people still believe that heart monitoring is only for the serious athlete, doctor or sports coach. This could not be further from the truth. In fact exercise and heart rate monitoring is an essential combination for anyone who wants to improve their physical condition or achieve a specific goal and the reality is that the less fit you are the more important heart monitoring is. By using a heart monitor you can achieve two things, a safe workout and tangible proof of progress. It will make sure that the heart is not over stressed, eliminating the ill effects of doing too much to soon. You will see your fitness improve which is extremely motivating and help you stick with your program, which in turn benefits you more. Heart monitoring takes the guesswork out of your training program.

How do you monitor your heart?

Monitor your heart rateHeart rate monitoring can be achieved in a number of ways, some are more accurate than others. The most advanced and accurate device is a heart rate monitor, the most popular being heart rate watches. You wear a strap around your chest, which contains electrodes. The heart monitor electrodes pick up the electrical impulses that the brain sends to the heart to tell it to beat then transmits this information by radio transmitter to a receiver. The receiver takes the form of a heart rate watch, which you wear on your wrist but it can also be a readout on an exercise machines computer. Polar heart rate monitors are the most famous and probably the most accurate. They are accurate to less than one beat per minute, there are no wires to interfere with your workout or effect the heart rate monitors reading. Polar heart rate monitor chips are in most exercise equipment today which is testament to their quality.

So, how does it work?
Well the first stage is to work out your age related Maximum Heart Rate. ( Max HR ) and you do this by using this simple formula.
MEN        220 – AGE = Max HR
WOMEN    226 – AGE = Max HR

Now that you know your Max HR you can now work out your heart beat during exercise, or Heart Rate Training Zones as it is commonly known. This is a percentage of your Max HR . The percentage being determined by what it is you want to achieve. The following guide will help you.
NB The following times do not include warm up and cool downs.

Moderate Activity Zone
50 – 60% Max HR
30 – 60 minutes in this heart rate training zone, 3 times a week

This is the easiest intensity you can workout at and still improve your overall health. This pace feels so easy most people feel guilty. People just starting an exercise program for the first time should begin by training in this program.

Weight Management Zone (Fat Burning Heart Rate)
60 – 70% Max HR
20 – 45 minutes in this heart rate training zone, 3 –5 times a week

This zone is often referred to as the ‘fat burning heart rate zone’ because the intensity of the exercise is moderate enough to make your body use its fats as the primary fuel source. The exercise still feels easy enough and it is the ideal heart rate training zone for those who wish to loose weight and maintain a healthy appearance.

Aerobic Heart Rate Training Zoneheart rate training zones
70 – 85% Max HR
20 – 30 minutes in this heart rate training zone, 3 –5 times a week

This heart rate training zone builds a healthy heart and develops lung power, increasing aerobic endurance and improving cardiovascular fitness. It also constructs a base for more demanding workouts for competition. This heart rate training zone is the zone for improving fitness. It is often the fastest pace we can maintain and still feel comfortable. Training regularly at this intensity will enable you to run up stairs or chase after that bus without getting out of breath. Probably the most important zone for total health benefits - the heart rate for exercise enthusiasts.

Competitive Heart Rate Training Zone
85 – 100% Max HR
2 – 5 minutes in this heart rate training zone, 1 – 2 times a week

Develops peak performance for competition. It increases the tolerance to the build up of lactic acid, the primary waste product of muscle when working out at this intensity. This heart rate training zone is know as the anaerobic zone and is to be used only by the very fit, athletes and those training under supervision.

A Final Word

We all grow old but how we age is very much in our own hands. Many of the degenerative changes associated with getting old are actually caused by lack of use. Getting fat, slowing down, feeling weak, developing high blood pressure and heart disease can all be delayed and in some cases eradicated by a sensible exercise program and a sensible exercise program will mean some form of heart rate monitoring.
Your heart serves as a barometer for the rest of your body. It tells you how hard you are working, how fast you are using up energy, if you have been over training and even your state of emotion. It is the most important muscle in the human body, damage it and your life will never be the same again. Look after it and it will look after you.


Get Active with the FT1, FT2, FT4 & FT7 models

You love getting out and about – whether it’s doing a class with a friend, going on a bike ride at the weekend or getting involved in a lunchtime run. But why not see exactly how much you’re doing and, even better, track your progress. Polar has a product to suit everyone, whatever level you are and for whichever activity you do. They’ll keep you motivated and show you how well you’re doing, leaving you to focus on enjoying it!

Improve Fitness with the FT40, FT60 & FT80 models

Fitness is already an important part of your life. And now you’re ready to move to a higher level – whether it’s to get fitter, lose weight or just for the satisfaction that comes from getting a faster time. Our range our products can fit into your weekly routine, and help you get even fitter, faster. Plus, it means you can see your improvement tracked after each session.

Heart rate monitors comparison table

Heart rate monitor
FT1
FT2
FT4
FT7
FT40
FT60
FT80
Body Management features
Automatic age-based taget zone
bpm/%
bpm/%

bpm/%
bpm/%
Heart rate
bpm/%
bpm/%
bpm/%
bpm/%
bpm/%
bpm/%
bpm/%
heart rate-based target zones with visual and audible alarm
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Manual target zone
bpm
bpm
bpm/%
bpm
bpm
bpm/%
bpm/%
Polar energy pointer
-
-
-
Yes
Yes
-
-
Polar fitness test
-
-
-
-
Yes
Yes
Yes
Polar OwnCal - calorie expenditure with altimeter calibration
-
-
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Polar OwnCode - coded transmission
5khz
5khz
5khz
5khz
5khz
5khz
5khz
Polar OwnRelax - relaxation test
-
-
-
-
-
-
Yes
Polar OwnZone - personal heart rate zone
-
-
-
-
-
Yes
Yes
Polar STAR training programme
-
-
-
-
-
Yes
Yes
Polar strength training guidance
-
-
-
-
-
-
Yes
Training features
Graphical target zone indicator
-
-
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
HeartTouch - button free operation of wrist unit
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
ZoneLock
-
-
-
-
Yes
Yes
Yes
ZonePointer
-
-
-
-
Yes
Yes
Yes
Recording features
Total training summary
-
-
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Training files (with summaries)
1
1
10
99
50
100
100
Weekly history
-
-
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
GPS Sensor features
Distance
-
-
-
-
-
Yes
Yes
Speed/Pace
-
-
-
-
-
Yes
Yes
Footpod features
Distance
-
-
-
-
-
Yes
Yes
Speed/Pace
-
-
-
-
-
Yes
Yes
Data transfer
compatible with polarpersonaltrainer.com
-
-
-
optional
optional
optional
Yes
Watch features
Data and weekday indicator
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Stop watch
-
-
Yes
Yes
-
-
Yes
User replaceable battery
-
-
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Water resistant
30m
30m
30m
30m
30m
30m
30m

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