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Aquatic Exercise Class
Heart Rate Monitors Make a Splash!

By Joanne Maybeck - Part One

This is the first of three articles about using a Polar heart rate monitor as a fitness tool in aquatic exercise classes and personal training.
Article Two  · Article Three

It’s a Monday morning aquatic exercise class in AnyPool, USA.  Folks are jogging and jumping in the water, wearing webbed gloves.  The boom box is blaring their favorite music.  Then the instructor calls, Time for a pulse count!  Jogging stops.  Gloves are peeled off. Wet hands slide over wet wrists and throats, seeking that elusive pulse.  Eyes search the chart hanging on the wall for what their heart rate should be.  When asked to call out their pulse, some people say a number from the chart.  Others curiously report a heart rate that is the same beats per minute as the music thats playing! 

And, during this short period of time, every participant’s heart rate dropped quickly, due to faster recovery in the water than on land.  So, even an accurate manual pulse count is not a true measure of the intensity of the aerobic exercise.

There’s got to be a better way!  Well, there is.  Its called a heart rate monitor.

What’s a Heart Rate Monitor?

A heart rate monitor is a piece of equipment worn by an exerciser, to measure their heart rate in beats per minute accurately and effortlessly.  It has two parts: a thin strap worn around the chest at the level of the heart, and a receiver that is worn like (and looks like) a wristwatch.

The electrodes in the chest strap measure your heart rate. Your heart rate displays on the wristwatch receiver.  With just a glance at your wrist, youll know your true heart rate instantly.  This is a wonderful convenience for workouts in the pool or on land!

How do you use it?

Look at the inside of the chest strap, and find the electrodes. They are two grooved areas in the molded plastic.  Wet them with tap water, and put on the chest strap, adjusting the length of the strap for a snug, yet comfortable fit at heart level.

Then, hold the wristwatch-receiver against the chest strap, right next to your heart. Within a minute, you’ll see a heart flashing on the face of the watch.  That is your heart beating!  Next, the beats per minute will display.  You are ready for your workout! 

Can you use it in the pool?

Absolutely!  Virtually all heart rate monitors on the market are waterproof.  Women wear the chest strap under their swimsuit.  Men simply wear it around their chest.

It’s great for use in class, and it’s also a great tool for personal trainers who need to know the heart rate response of their clients.

Where can I get one?

Click on any of the links on this page or call 1 866 797-7336 for the guaranteed lowest price.

Joanne Maybeck is a fitness instructor and personal trainer in New York City.  She is certified by ACSM, ACE, AEA, and AAAI/ISMA.  Joanne presents the CEC workshop Aquatic Heart Zone Training and will soon offer on-line heart monitor education. She believes in training with heart!  For more about Joanne, please visit her Internet web site

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Hi, I'm Rich Dafter - full time dad, life-long runner, Team Beachbody Coach and Polar Global Ambassador. By the Grace of God, I have been able to raise my kids working from home by helping people get healthier, fitter and have better quality of life as a full-time Team Beachbody Coach since 2007. more...

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