In 2006 when I was on one of my big training kicks, my husband bought me a Polar heart rate monitor. I had never used one before and quickly set about figuring it out. It was really simple with just a few features tracking heart rate and calories burned. It didn’t take long before I wouldn’t workout without it. I loved being able to see how many calories I was burning and also being able to keep track of where I was on my intensity levels. I replaced the battery in the watch and the strap on the chest band numerous times. In February of 2016, it finally died. It was like losing an old friend who had been there through all the ups and downs and all the sweat and tears.
When I started to look online for a replacement, I was soon overwhelmed by all the choices of different monitors as well as all the features available on each one. The heart rate monitor had come a long way in the past ten years! Also, now on the market were new things that tracked your daily movement and connected to your smartphone. It took a good month of research and reflection to decide what exactly I wanted and needed. I was intrigued with being able to track movement when not working out, but I also wanted a strap for accurate heart rate readings when I was working out. I also didn’t feel like I needed notifications from my phone showing up on the watch. And I wanted a decent sized screen on the watch, not just a little slit.
I bought the Polar A300 and it has been fantastic! It not only tracks heart rate and calories burned just like the old one, but it also does so much more. I can program different activities to select for each workout, for example running, biking, group exercise, Crossfit, etc. It tells me how many hours in a day I am active, how many steps I took and how many calories I burned for the whole day. It also buzzes and vibrates when I’ve been sitting still for too long to remind me to get up and move. If I wear it all night it tracks my sleep and tells me how much of it was restful and how much was restless. You can set a daily activity goal and it shows you your progress towards that goal and buzzes when you reach your goal for the day. You sync the watch to the website and the mobile app to see all the data. It has all kinds of graphs and charts to show the data in multiple ways. They also have some sort of social media feature where you can post your data and see others’ data, but I haven’t really explored that much. The watch has interchangeable bands that you can purchase separately so that you are always color coordinated if desired. It’s water resistant meaning its ok if it gets wet, but don’t wear it swimming or in the shower. The only thing I don’t like about it is the strap. The way it hooks together when you have it on isn’t a great design. Often when I go to take it off, I find the hook is about to slip out and I often have to stop working out to pull it up because it is sliding down my torso.
While I am partial to this product I am using, the bottom line is I think training with a heart rate monitor, regardless of which one or what kind, is a great way to help you stay focused and motivated to get the workout done. I love seeing how many calories I’ve burned after working out or I’ve used the calorie count to push myself harder and keep going to reach a certain number before stopping. So I now have a new workout friend, and I hope this one last ten years as well!