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Pedometers, Fitness Trackers and Heart Rate Monitors

Polar FT4 Heart Rate Monitor Review

It’s Simple. Really.

Your heart rate is the biggest indicator of what’s working in your exercise routine and what isn’t. At least, that’s what I’ve been told by the trainer that I worked with. Anyway, I didn’t realize that and thought that you only tracked heart rates to make sure that you weren’t about to have a heart attack. What I’ve since learned is that you need to track your heart rate so you know when you’re not working hard enough as well as when you’re overdoing it.

Overdoing it is apparently just as useless to your workout as not pushing it hard enough. What I found, however, is that a lot of the heart rate monitors with chest straps are not particularly comfortable. I have a very small rib cage, and it has been hard to find one that is small enough to close securely without having my skin irritated by velcro.

Polar Heart Rate Monitor with chest strap

Just Doing Its Job

The Polar FT4 Heart Rate Monitor doesn’t try to be much other than a heart rate monitor. It doesn’t link up to an app that tracks your every move, there are no connections for tracking your sleep, there are no badges or goals, it’s just interested in watching your heart rate and making sure that you’re in the right range.

Since I’ve looked in to a lot of these devices, I’ve started really appreciating devices that don’t try to do too much. Most of the one-size-fits-all devices that try to do all of the things necessary to track your regular fitness end up lacking in at least a few if not most of the areas. You end up spending extra money on things that don’t work well or spending more money to find out that the things you really needed aren’t all that effective.

Polar FT4 doesn’t do that. It just tracks your heart rate with a chest-mounted tracker that hooks to the watch. The wrist device holds the data for ten days and lets you compare your workouts. The chest strap is fabric and is comfortable enough to wear throughout your whole workout.

Listen To Your Polar Heart

The watch feature lets your track your heart rate in real time and see it on your wrist as you’re working out. If you drop below the designated “good range” for your workout, it makes a noise every 5 seconds until you kick it up. If your heart rate gets too high, it makes more noise to let you know that, too. It’s simple, and that’s basically the best part.

It doesn’t even have a pedometer, it’s only looking at what your heart is doing. And that counts, regardless what the activity is, you get credit for the calories burned no matter what you’re doing while working your tail off.

FT4 Color Simplicity

The Polar FT4 comes in pink, green, silver and blue and is worn like a regular watch. In fact, when it’s not tracking your heart rate, it can actually just be a watch.

FT4 Colors

Simple Missteps

The biggest issue that seems to arise is that if you want to check the amount of time that you’ve been in the target zone during your workout, you can’t get that information until afterwards. People who want to track if they’re doing their workout in the correct zone for a specific amount of time just won’t be able to. You have to stop, disconnect the wires and find out what your progress has been and then reconnect them if you want to keep working. That’s not exactly convenient.

Also, people have had trouble with the buttons on the front of the watch. In some models, they seem to be more difficult to push. Some people report that they don’t respond as much as they would like them to.

The band may also be too small for male wrists, but that’s never going to be a problem for me. I have ridiculously small wrists that could still benefit from a band that’s too small for everyone else.

There’s Nothing Wrong With Simple

If I went to work, did my job exactly as I was supposed to and went home, I’d be considered a really good employee. By that same standard, I think the Polar FT4 Heart Rate Monitor is a really good heart rate monitor. It does what it is supposed to without a whole lot of other promises that it can’t fulfil.

If simplicity is what you’re looking for in your next heart rate monitor, then this is probably the best option for you. Pop on over to Amazon and track your heart going pitter patter.

(ps. that link was for the pink FT4,
click here for silver or green or
here for blue)

Further Information

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