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Using a Heart Rate Monitor

Let Your Heart Guide Your Walking Workout

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Updated February 05, 2013

Polar M52 Heart Rate Monitor

Polar M52 Heart Rate Monitor

To use a heart rate monitor, you must first know at what heart rate you wish to workout.

First stop:Find your Maximum Heart Rate (MHR) and target heart rates using the heart rate calculator.

Target Heart Rate Calculator

All Walking Workouts

Put on the Heart Rate Monitor
First, wet the contacts on the back of the chest transmitter so that it makes good contact with your skin. There are products such as Buh-Bump Cream, which is an electrolyte gel just like they use in hospitals, to ensure good contact. Adjust the elastic strap so it is snug but doesn't interfere with taking a good deep breath. For women, it should go snugly under the breasts and bra. Now put on your shirt. If your model has a watch display, put it on your wrist.

Start Your Monitor
Different models turn on in different ways, some just by waving the watch display in front of the chest transmitter. Others are activated by a button. Note the readings - if they are erratic or show you must be either dead or running a sprint, readjust the chest strap for good contact. Monitors may also pick up other people's transmitters if they are also wearing a heart rate monitor - so space yourself around others.

Care and Feeding of Your Monitor

  • The transmitter and wrist display are both water resistant, but should be stored in a dry place and not kept in some non-breathable place - don't store it in a plastic bag or keep it in your gym bag with your sweaty clothes.
  • Clean the transmitter with warm soapy water and a soft towel after each use. Never use alcohol or a scratchy scrubber.
  • Batteries wear out after a couple of years and depending on the model you can send it in for a replacement or replace them yourself.
  • Replacements for the transmitter or watch display are available from the manufacturers for less than the whole unit price.

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Next > Choosing a Heart Rate Monitor

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