Monday, October 29, 2012

Heart Beat Monitor for Casual Workout: To Keep My Heart In Check!

Dear Reader,

As I said previously, I started to go out and workout. During my workout, one thing I could not get feedback on was my body. You often hear that we should listen to our body, but it's hard to really be able to tell myself if I am in a good shape or not. So, last week, I broke my wallet and went off buying a Heart Rate Monitor chest strap. It's a kind of elastic strap that goes around the chest with a electronic device that track your heart pulse. I suppose it's kinda like wearing a bra while doing sports... weird at first....

The model I use is this one, it's from Polar and it's bluetooth enabled, it works very well with my phone (a Galaxy S i9000), connect without an hitch, totally plug and play. I did my last workout with it and accurately gives a reading of my heart beat. People says that it does not work with the sensor in the back and I still need to try it, I'll update this page when I'll have more about that.
Edit: After using it for 2 weeks, it failed once, it disconnected when I pause my workout and needed a connection refresh, I don't think it's a big issue, I'll see if that happens more often. Also, I did try it with the phone on a beltpack placed on my back and it does work, so I can freely skates with my beltpack on the back.

Now, what's the purpose of it? simple, I try to not overpush myself, when you read the news, you can see stuff like that, a cyclist dying after probably pushing himself too much and in the past, I did overpush myself twice, the first time, I collapsed, the second time, I was nearly collapsing, I managed to call my colleagues to pick me up at the bus stop. I'll just try to control myself. Luckily, I can gradually train myself :). The purpose of having a HRM is to be able to know where you at during the effort, heart beat are separated into 5 zones of beat frequencies, the faster your heart beats, the higher the zone and obviously, you can't stay for a long period of time in the highest heart beat zone.

In my case, my smartphone will just give me a voiced indication about which zone I am evolving too, so if I was slowing down and the computer tells me "heart zone 3", I know an indication of the bpm my heart is beating at 150-159bpm.

That way, I can try to train myself into a specific zone, like going the fastest within a given zone.

At zone 5, I can do approx 30+ km/h I feel that I can go faster, but my body does not move faster to be able to increase speed... a funny feeling. An inline speed skating athlete can do a Marathon in just under 70-90 minutes... That's 30+ km/h average, I am only averaging 15km/h on my best day and I need a pause and I don't think they are constantly pumping 160 bpm during a race... So I am very far from World class athletes... but just being at half their performance is just disappointing (it's like thinking that you need 20 seconds to do a 100m... I know I can be faster than that)... I don't mean to race, but achieving 3/4 of it might be a good goal to start over let's say a 2 years period. I'll come back to that point in the near future. :)

That said, I hope to be able to keep my workouts when baby will be here and not lose this new habit.

Thanks for reading.