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Fuquay Varina, North Carolina, United States
A guy finding out if life really does begin at 50.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

And the beat goes on...

Well today was productive. It’s not over but I thought while the tea is brewing I take a break and write a bit about something I have used for at least 20 years. When I exercise I wear a Polar heart monitor. If you are like me you exercise because they say you should. I’m sure I’ve gotten some benefit from it, but to be honest the best thing I can say about most exercise is that it’s over. The exercise I like and really gets my heart beating gets over too quick.

The picture shows my real time heart rate is 139, and I’m 56 minutes 18 seconds into my work out. The heart symbol flashes each time it picks up a beat. The vertical bar means a period of 10 minutes in the target range. It’ll show 3 vertical bars after 30 minutes. In this picture the bar represents 40 minutes since it cleared the three bars after I completed the 40th minute.

My Polar heart monitor allows me to set my target heart range. I have it set for 135 minimum and 155 maximum (shown in picture below). If my heart rate goes outside that range it beeps at me. If I stay in the target range it doesn’t beep to nag me – I get to run along in peace. It’s also is a stop watch so I know how long I ran. On top of that it keeps track of the total time my heart rate was in the target range. Then after 30 minutes in the target range it beeps to let me know I’ve achieved 30 minutes of quality cardiovascular exercise. The true beauty of this is it doesn’t matter how I keep my heart in that range. I typically have to run pretty fast on downhill grades to keep it over 135. But I can slow down and walk on steep uphill grades. This means I don’t overdo it and get burned out which is a common reason people stop exercising.

The Polar device is wireless. There is a chest strap (black in the pictures) that picks up your heart beat and transmits that to the wrist watch receiver to display. The watch does not have to be worn. I used to mount the watch to my handle bars when I rode my bike. I believe Polar is the well known brand/market leader in this area. When I traveled the workout equipment in hotel fitness rooms often worked with the Polar device. Very handy to see your heart rate on the equipment read out. Some of the equipment would increase and decrease the intensity to keep you in your heart range.

The battery in the watch last 5 years. I replaced the battery in the 1st Polar watch that I had, and it ruined it. So I purchased the one I have now. I’m still using the original chest strap that came with the 1st watch– it’s over 20 years old. Now granted there have been years at a time that I’ve not used it. I believe the battery in the chest strap is good for several thousand hours of operation. I assumed the electrical signal it picks up turns it on. Somehow it turns itself off. There is no on or off switch on the chest strap. It is totally sealed. Watch and strap can be used in the pool. The picture below shows my heart was in range for 42:50, and the workout lasted 1 hour 2 minutes (I forgot to hit stop).
If you are looking for a gift for that person that has everything this could be it. It will totally change their exercise habits. I have no financial interests in Polar. My recommendation is purely my opinion after having used one off and on for over 20 years.


Maryann Goldman said...

I was telling Patricia the other day that I made about 65 stepping stones one year for Christmas. As you know, most of those went to InfoMan people. Yours is still lookin' good!
Almost makes me want to go for a run...almost. As it is, the boys are doing enough running for all of us right now.

Major Mom said...
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Major Mom said...

Hi Don,

I haven't started on my running posts yet -- and it's overdue.

Dave surprised me on my last birthday with a Garmin Forerunner 201 GPS watch which has been great for getting the "real" distance I've run. It's funny to use it on trails that have mileage markers and the GPS is measuring as much as 1/5 of a mile difference!

My friend Paul (who you've heard me mention) just got a Forerunner 305 which combines the GPS tracking with a Polar-style wireless heart rate monitor capability.

I have a special place in my heart for the GPS constellation...its data helped me come up with a pretty cool Master's thesis.

(Great bedtime reading!)

For more about GPS Meteorology:

Don Miller said...

Magor Mom,
I downloaded the PDF. I'll take look it over one night.

I got myself a 3rd generation iPod Nano for Christmans and I'm waiting for the Nike + iPod Sport Kit to be delivered. Friday is its ETD.