Wondering if anyone here has had any issues while using the heart rate monitors on treadmills or excerise bikes?



Heart rate monitors

by Gemita - 2020-12-03 05:42:07

Hello mnicolaci,

I cannot comment on current reliability of treadmill or exercise bike pulse heart rate sensors since haven't used for some time, although I am told reliability can be difficult to achieve because movement of hand and body can affect the readings, as well as wet hands, during exercise?  My comments here relate to personal monitoring bands which seem to be so widely used for monitoring today.

From what I have read here, chest band monitoring may be more reliable than wrist band monitoring although probably not as comfortable.  It will also depend on the quality of the monitor you purchase and how regular your heart rhythm is at the time of monitoring.

As you will read in recent posts, some monitoring bands can be very hit and miss, so it might be trial and error until you find something suitable.  For example my heart rate can be successfully monitored at fairly high rates when my heart rhythm is regular but oh dear when my heart rhythm is irregular, during exercise or at rest, it can give the very best monitor an incredibly difficult time and some very dubious results!

I am an Apple fan but also use a good quality home blood pressure monitor sometimes when at rest.   I also check manually my neck pulse.  Some folks recommend taking several readings and then averaging them to give a more accurate result.  (Not practical during exercise I know!).  Some even say go by how you feel and not to worry about checking heart rate when you feel well, only check it when you feel unwell to try to see what might be going on.  When I feel well I see no need to monitor and just get on with my life.  My body will tell me when something is wrong, at which time I may decide self monitoring would be helpful

Hit and miss

by crustyg - 2020-12-03 08:00:18

I use a Garmin ANT+ chest strap HR monitor - works perfectly with the Concept 2 rowers at my local gym, and their watt-bikes. But although the treadmills at the same gym claim to be ANT+ compatible, I've not yet worked out how to get them to discover and use the same chest strap.  I *suspect* that the feature is actually turned off: I've yet to find any staff or instructor who can show me *their* ANT+ HR monitor working with these devices.  Treadmills at my last gym worked fine with my chest strap.

You may find that it's *their* equipment that's the issue and not your monitor.  Many/most optical/pulseox type HR monitors struggle with reliable HR monitoring if they are moved vigorously - as in hard exercise, but perhaps the current generation of smartwatches are more stable under these conditions.


by Tracey_E - 2020-12-03 11:47:34

They won't hurt us, if that's what you're asking. In my experience they are wildly inaccurate, if they pick up anything at all. I've had more than one that didn't read a heart rate at all. 

HR monitors and exercise

by Grateful Heart - 2020-12-03 14:53:39

I use a Polar chest strap HR monitor and it automatically links to the treadmill or bikes at the gym.  I tried the wrist monitors and they are not accurate for me but the chest strap is extremely accuate for me. 

During an intense exercise class my Polar device registered 224 bpm at one point and the next time I had a defib check at the doctor's office, it showed the same reading on the same date and time.  Made a believer out of me. 

If you use a chest strap it is advised to place the sensor on the opposite side from where your device is located.  Good luck.

Grateful Heart   

Hit and miss

by tuck3lin - 2020-12-16 13:47:15

I have had a pacemaker for 13 years now, and have found the heart rate monitors a bit hit and miss. The chest strap is used with my old Garmin 305 running watch would never give me a good reading. The wrist sensor on my newer Garmin 645 works great and gives me an accurate reading. The hand grips on the treadmill at work usually give me a good reading, while the handgrips on my home treadmill doesn't. Blood pressue cuffs and finger sensors - all good. 

Bottom line, it seems the closer you get to the pacemaker (chest straps) when trying to measure the heartrate, the more unreliable. Everything else is a function of the equipment and how well they can sense a pulsing vein, just like a non-paced person.

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