Whether you’re training for your first long-distance run or working on living with atrial fibrillation (AFib), keeping track of your heart rhythm with the help of a smartwatch or personal electrocardiogram (EKG/ECG) device may help you to get on the right path.
There are so many “smart devices” on the market today, but are they worth their cost? Let’s look at some of the benefits of personal heart-monitoring devices.
The Benefits of Personal Heart Monitoring
There are doctor-prescribed cardiac monitors, and then there are smartwatches you can pick up online or at an electronics store.
A heart rate monitoring device is a great way to help reach your fitness goals — as long as it’s being used appropriately. When you can watch your heart rate during a workout, you can actually see how hard your body is working. So, in some instances where a person may be exercising five days per week but not seeing the results they want, it could be because their body isn’t actually working as hard as they thought. Being able to watch your heart rate can help you to keep pushing when you’re ready to do more.
From a safety standpoint, a smartwatch with a heart monitor can help protect your body from doing too much for too long. You’ll have a clear understanding of when it’s time to pause, decrease your pace or call it quits for the day.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), roughly 3-to-6 million Americans have AFib, a type of heart arrhythmia where the heart beats too fast, too slow or erratically. For those living with AFib or another cardiac condition, a doctor may prescribe an at-home EKG device to help monitor heart rhythm from anywhere.
People who have heart rhythm abnormalities can benefit from being able to record heart episodes as they occur. In some cases, the results of cardiac activity can be sent directly to your doctor from the monitoring device. This helps your provider know exactly what’s happening and how to best work with you to support your heart health.
Who Can Benefit Most?
Whether you’re an athlete or looking to better understand your journey in managing a cardiac issue, a personal monitoring device can be beneficial.
Joggers, walkers, runners, cyclists, hikers, those trying to lose weight, and those recovering from an injury can all benefit from tracking their heart rate.
What To Look for in a Device
Smartwatches usually have a built-in optical sensor to detect the wearer’s pulse. Smartwatches with heart rate monitors are considered to be slightly less accurate than a chest-strap monitor but are more comfortable and easier to wear while exercising. Since a wrist monitor can be worn constantly (as long as it’s charged), you’ll likely be able to get a very accurate, detailed reading.
It may also be helpful to have features such as “target zones,” which means you can pre-program different workouts along with goals. A “recovery mode” is also a great feature if you’re using your monitor for exercise purposes, because it tracks the time it takes your heart to return to resting rate.
If you are prescribed a monitoring device from your physician, they will help ensure you select what you need to support your unique condition and care plan.
Taking Care of Your Heart Health
To connect with a specialist for a device recommendation, or for more information on how to best care for your heart health, visit AdventhHealthCardiovascularInstitute.com.