Oh Mio, Oh My-Oh
Since I learned to start monitoring my heart rate more consistently during my exercise, it really has changed the way that I workout. I feel like I get more out of shorter workouts without what I call “wobbly leg syndrome” at the end of my exercise. I’m not pushing it so hard that I hit levels that I can’t maintain or that make my workout less effective.
That being said, finding the right heart rate monitor has been difficult. The ones on the machines at the gym aren’t consistent and probably aren’t very accurate. The ones on the do-everything trackers don’t seem to be very consistent, if they exist at all.
Chest straps are hard to wear sometimes because of my, let’s say, soft tissue in that area. I have been irritated by the velcro before, and I HATE the feeling of rubbery materials on my skin.
I’ve managed with some in the past, but it’s not something I like doing. If I don’t like wearing it, I’m not going to.
Strap To Irritate Me-O
The idea of a heart rate monitor WITHOUT a strap sounds delightful, and that’s just what the MIO Alpha I Strapless Continuous Heart Rate Monitor says it does. Supposedly, instead of using the chest monitor, it uses lights that shine into your wrist and calculate your pulse. Basically, the two lights that the monitor creates can tell how much blood is in your wrist, and they calculate that into how much blood is pumping moving through your body.
The best part is that it is supposed to be able to do this while you’re running at the highest speeds. They say it can track you run up the 12 miles per hour. Do you know anyone who can run that fast? I know that I don’t.
The two bulbs have to actually make contact with your skin to work, and that means that you have to wear the watch pretty tight. I’m not sure that it would make a difference for me because I have tiny wrists and have to wear things very tightly anyway, but it could be a little uncomfortable for people with normal-sized or large wrists.
If it works, I am excited. Having all of the extra bells and whistles of long term tracking and the ability to set goals is great, but a heart rate monitor that just does what it is supposed to do is way better. If this one can not only track heart rate but also do it without cords, wires or any other attachments, you will have one happy camper right here.
On top of being entirely cordless, it also lets you set zones of where your heart rate should stay between, and it will make noises when you’re above or below that range. Monitors without audible alerts are pretty useless, and I wouldn’t think to check my wrist while I’m kicking my own bum. It has to tell me that it’s time to adjust speeds.
Not Perfect For Mio
The thing that Mio Alpha can’t do, though, is track heart rate when you’re doing things other than running. That’s pretty inconvenient if you’re like me and vary your exercise for a myriad of reasons including boredom.
The bulbs have more trouble making consistent contact with the skin when you’re moving your arms around, and if it loses signal, you have to reconnect it which means going through a long settings list. I run often, but some days I spin or play active sports or use the elliptical or other things that really do require some arm movement. At nearly $200, it’s a pretty expensive device to just use for a portion of my workouts.
Avid runners on the other hand, will probably get exactly what they need out of it. If they don’t, they’ll know pretty quickly if it isn’t going to work. Runners tend to move their arms the same amount whenever they run, so they’ll have a fairly good idea what they’re doing right or wrong. Short runs or long runs usually require the same arm movement.
Uno Purpose For Mio
Mio Alpha doesn’t offer a whole lot of options other than the heart rate monitoring. I think that’s fine, but it might not be enough interaction for some. I tend to want a device that does everything that it is supposed to do well, and I would rather it do one thing amazingly then 10 things with mediocrity. For runners, I think this actually does that one thing well. For others, I’m not sure.
One of the problems is that the sensors lose connectivity, and that might be because the band is not tight enough. You can only make it so tight before it isn’t comfortable anymore, though, so I don’t know if that’s a reasonable fix. Again, you’re not going to wear a device that isn’t comfortable, so I’m not sure what you’re supposed to do about that.
Get Your Alpha Run On Without Wires
The idea of a heart rate monitor that doesn’t require an annoying strap is pretty great, and if this one had the chance of working for everything that I do, I would be way more likely to hop on board. The technology may need a little more adjustment to fit my purposes, but it’s probably more than enough (and way more convenient) for runners.
If the idea of a cordless heart rate monitor sounds like a winner to you, jog on over to Amazon and pick one up for yourself.