While only love can break your heart, bad exercise techniques can result in a different kind of heartbreak — the kind that can land you in the hospital. Using a heart-rate monitor while you exercise will help you watch your maximum heart rate and, more importantly, track your recovery. Getting a better understanding of your beats and rhythms lets you to maximize your workouts and get the most out of your athletic performance.
With hearts foremost on our minds this time of year, we've put together a list of our Top 7 heart-rate monitors in stores today. Hit the Continue jump for the list.
7. Omron HR-100C Heart Rate Monitor ($60)
This entry-level monitor isn't short on bells and whistles — it even has an alarm option for low and high heart rates to help keep you in the ideal zone during training. Both the chest transmitter and watch are water resistant, and it even comes with a mounting bracket for your bike or treadmill.
6. Polar CS200cad ($190)
Whether your cycling involves steep climbs, quick sprints, serious racing — on the road or on the dirt trails — or just long weekend rides, tracking your spin is key to getting in just the right gear. In addition to monitoring your heart rate, this unit can keep track of distance, maximum and average speeds and even lets you know the cadence of your pedaling. This is the next best thing to having Lance Armstrong as your personal cycling coach.
5. Polar RS800CX Run ($500)
If you go the distance, you know there is much more than just loneliness to overcome, and the PS800CX is meant for those who pound the pavement competitively. This monitor tracks running speed, distance, cadence and average stride length, and it is compatible with the Polar ProTrainer 5 software, to help you track your training and get ready for the next long race.
4. Reebok Fitwatch 10S Strapless Heart Rate Monitor Watch ($100)
If the chest strap is too confining, this sleekly styled monitor watch lets you check your heart rate by finger touch. Simply tap the sensor and you can get information on heart rate as well as calories burned. It's also fully water-resistant and can trade heart-rate zone with audible and visual cues, plus offers stopwatch and timer functions to help track your workout.
3. Garmin 405 with GPS ($300)
Never needing to ask for directions again is only part of what this training-specific heart rate monitor provides — it also can track your training and wirelessly send the data to your computer. It can let you train against past times, so you can track individual laps and even set goals. It is also compatible with cadence sensors for running and cycling.
2. Suunto t4c for Women ($220)
While extreme enough for a man, this one was made for a woman. The women's t4c watch offers unique detailing and a softer, slimmer strap for improved fit. It has an activity class monitor, so you can know your baseline activity level during aerobics and other classes, plus this unit also provides interference free monitoring, so electronic equipment inside the gym or power lines on the trails doesn't interrupt your workout.
1. Timex IRONMAN Road Trainer Heart Rate Monitor ($100)
Whether you're training for the next triathlon, or just trying to tone up this sleek and stylish monitor can track your time in the zone, your average heart rate and even calories burned. Water resistant up to 300 feet, it's ideal for cross training and is also data-recorder compatible. The night-light mode is handy for night owls, too. And this being a Timex you know it will take a licking…