Our website covers all types of electronics and tech stuff used by runners, triathletes, and all kinds of athletes, but overwhelmingly, most people come to our site to check out heart rate monitors and GPS watches. So we thought we would put together a series of posts covering how to choose a heart rate monitor. Today we are covering a few different methods of measuring heart rate.
In part 1, we covered a few basic questions for those of you who have never used a heart rate monitor. We answered some simple questions around the benefits you can get from using a heart rate monitor. Today we are going to cover the basic types of measuring heart rate, and what the pros and cons of each are. So here are the types of heart rate monitors the measurement methods that seem to be popular:
Pulse Wave Detection
These devices are the units that slip over your finger that you find at your local hospital. A sensor slips over your finger, or clips on your ear, and measures heart rate using some sort of pulse wave detection, like measuring the doppler shift of a transmitted signal. They can also use transmitted light, and look at the received light to determine heart rate.The issues with these type of detectors is that, in the past, they usually use more energy, so you need a rechargeable battery or other power source. The issue for an athlete is that with all of the movement, it is hard to keep the sensor from coming off. There are some novel technologies out there; one of them being technology from Valencell called V-LINC. V-LINC measures heart rate using technology that is built into audio earbuds.
Image from mobilehealthnews.com
Check out these videos that go into more detail about this product:
This technology looks promising enough to get Best Buy to invest. Check out this link.
Standard Heart Rate Monitor Strap
By far the most popular method of measuring heart rate during exercise is by using a heart rate monitor strap. Here are pictures of typical heart rate monitor straps: