The first heart rate monitor was said to be invented by The Polar Electro Company in 1977. It was used to train the Finnish National Cross Country Ski Team. Heart rate monitors were sold in retail by the late 70’s to early 80’s and continue to improve in technology and design to this day. radio strap
The heart rate monitor is a great piece of fitness equipment used to track your heart rate in real time. Heart rate monitors also have neat features, like time specific heart rate zones, averaging heart rate over a workout period, calories burned as well as detailed logging that can be downloaded in to your computer.
The heart monitor usually comes in two parts. The wrist receiver (doubles as a watch) and the chest strap. The chest strap has electrodes in contact with the skin that monitor the electrical voltage in the heart. When a heart beat is detected a radio signal is transmitted and the receiver uses this to determine the current heart rate.
Cardio machines like the treadmill and elliptical trainer have built in heart rate monitors. After entering in your information such as age and your program choice the machine will adjust the resistance until your heart rate is in its desired zone. It will continue to assist you to maintain your target for the duration of the program.
Newer heart rate models come in wireless models, without the chest strap. Instead they go from the receiver to a pulse band around the finger. There is also talking heart rate monitors and sweat band monitors. In 2005 the first sports bra heart rate monitor was released by Textronics Inc which is a comfortable alternative to the chest strap for women.
The heart rate monitor is an amazing tool to accurately monitor, track and progress all of your cardio training workouts. They are extremely useful for runners and cyclists to prevent over-training and to be pushed when under training.