Archive for August, 2006

Polar S725X - Simply Irresistible Gear

Wednesday, August 30th, 2006

Every so often a bicycle or accessory beckons us beyond our control. For whatever reason–the features, performance, value, looks, or all four–they entice us into their gravitational pull, win our hearts and inspire a devotion that could make a lover jealous.
Polar rules the heart rate monitor market, with more innovation and more features than other manufacturers offer. The Polar S725x is the only single HRM that can measure heart rate, power, cadence, temperature and altitude, all while providing features such as an interval mode that automatically generates a segmented workout with adjustable split times and heart rate highs and lows. Download this data to your PC (and with third-party software and some effort, to your Mac), and you can generate a digital workout diary to use with the Polar’s online Personal Trainer to track and meet your goals. And seeing your daily efforts and future targets on a graph motivates you toward more consistent efforts without over or undertraining.–Michael Frank, September 2006

Polar RS200 Running Computer Wins iF Design Award

Wednesday, August 30th, 2006

The Polar RS200 and Polar RS200sd have been awarded the iF Design Award 2006 in Leisure/Lifestyle category. iF Design Award is one of world’s key design competitions and a benchmark for outstanding design. This year’s IF design awards ceremony will be at CEBIT exhibition in Hannover in March. This year a total of just under 2000 products from 37 countries competed for the 2006 iF Design Award in different categories.

“For Polar, receiving the iF Design Award in this category is a precious recognition for our design team for combining multifunctional features with trendy and stylish design. The real test, however, lies in the hands of consumers, and with these urban models we have received an excellent reception”, says Mr. says Mr. Olli Komulainen, the leader of successful RS200 design group.

Polar Electro design team values the iF Design Award recognition - especially because the iF seal of design excellence has become a symbol for superior quality and developed into a trend-setting design competition over the past five decades. The challenge for the winner design team was to fit all Polar performance in functional but top trendy style: the large, high-contrast LCD display, 4 symmetrically placed side buttons and centrally placed iconic “Polar red” front lap button.

The Polar RS200 target was to create casual sporty design that you can wear 365 days a year. As a result, you can see influences from latest sport fashion and footwear, as well as modern furniture and interiors. Features like simple basic shapes with integrated structures give an impression of modern appeal and easy of use. All then wrapped up with highlighted center stripe emphasizes sportiness as well.

Running with your Polar heart rate monitor

Thursday, August 17th, 2006

The first step to integrating your heart rate monitor into your running program is to determine your individual training zones. These are the zones that you will use for Recovery/Endurance, (60-70%), Aerobic (70-80%) and Anaerobic (80%+) training. Some trainers advocate as many as five training zones, and that may be right for your training. These are the core zones that we use to demonstrate how a program would work. . Once you establish your zones, your heart rate monitor will allow you to meet the training goal for each day’s workout.

So how do you find your zones? The key is to establish personalized numbers that work for you. When using a formula, which is recommended for weight conscious or fitness runners, you establish your zones off of estimated max heart rate. We recommend the Karvonen formula that factors in your Morning Resting Heart Rate (MRHR). This will personalize numbers not only for your age, but also for your fitness level. Just follow the instructions listed below.

For the more serious or competitive runner, knowing your Anaerobic Threshold (AT) is the key to your training. This is the point where your body goes from Aerobic, to Anaerobic and lactic acid starts to become a factor. By knowing this point (on average between 80 and 90% of Max hr), you can fine-tune your zones. The most effective way to determine your AT is having it determined in a clinical environment. These tests are more common today and can be done at a sports training facility or clinic. As an alternate, you can take a sub-max test like the one recommended by Carmichael Training Systems (CTS) These tests, while not as efficient as having it done clinically, can give you a more precise foundation for establishing your training zones than a formula.

Karvonen Formula

First, you must take your heart rate for three mornings in a row before getting up from bed. Once you have those numbers, take the average of the sum:

Morning 1# + Morning 2# + Morning 3# = ( X)
(X) Divided by 3 = Morning Resting HR (MRHR)

This is the single best indicator of your state of fitness. Once you have this number established as a baseline, you could use it to understand more about yourself than you can imagine. Take it again every once in a while, at least once every two weeks.

As your fitness improves, you will most likely see that number going down.

If you see an elevated number, it could mean the following:

  • You did not recover from a hard workout the day before
  • You need more rest
  • Your body has begun fighting off an oncoming illness

This is critical information, especially on days when you have a hard workout planned. You may have to adjust your expectations for that workout, or put it off for the next day when you are better rested.


Target Zones

The next step is to set up your target zones. Some experts advocate as many as 5 Target Zones. For the sake of simplicity, we will talk about the three key zones:

60-70% Builds endurance, recommended for recovery
70-80% Good for tempo workouts
80+ Interval workouts and AT training

First use the formula:

220 minus your age (A)= estimated max hr (HRMx)

HRMx minus MRHR= (C)

Now find your personal target zones

(C) X .60 = (D) D + MRHR = ( ) 60% limit number
(C) X .70 = (E) E + MRHR = ( ) 70% limit number

Jeff is 40 years old and his morning resting hr is 38.

220 minus 40 = 180
180 minus 38 = 142

142 X .60 = 85  85 + 38 = (123)
142 X .70 = 99  99 + 38 = (137)

For Jeff’s Long Workouts his target zone is 123-137

Now use that formula to find all three of your target zones. You may have to use this as a starting point and adjust your numbers after several workouts. If you’re serious, visit a sports clinic and get your AT tested.

The Polar S-Series Products have the patented OwnIndexS feature. You can test your Vo2max and actually get a rating of how well your body processes oxygen. This will allow you to track improvements and even see if you are genetically predisposed to be a world-class runner.

Using a Polar heart rate monitor for weight loss and weight management

Tuesday, August 15th, 2006

Let’s get started!

Step 1
Determine Your Personal Target Zones

Target Zones

60-70% of max hr weight loss, building endurance
70-80% ” ” “ weight management, improve cardio fitness

Now use one of the following formulas to set up your TZs

Option 1 Age-based formula
220 minus your age (A) = estimated max hr (HRMx)

    To find your target zones

    MHR X .60=( ) MHR X .70=( ) TZ1
    MHR X .70=( ) MHR X .80=( ) TZ2

    You now have your two personal target zones

Option 2 Karvonen formula
This formula uses your age and fitness level to determine your target zones. It’s a more personalized number.

First, you must take your heart rate for three mornings in a row before getting up from bed. Once you have those numbers, take the average of the sum:

Morning 1# + Morning 2# + Morning 3# = ( X)
(X) divided by 3 = Morning Resting HR (MRHR)

This is the single best indicator of your state of fitness. Once you have this number established as a baseline, you can use it to understand more about yourself than you can imagine. Take it again every once in a while, at least once every two weeks.

As your fitness improves, you will most likely see that number going down. And that’s important. It takes time to start losing the weight. Many people quit because they get on the scale and they don’t see any difference. This number will tell you that your fitness level is improving. That means the weight should be coming off soon after. By seeing that you’re actually improving, you’re more likely to stick with it.


Now use your resting heart rate number as follows:

220 minus your age (A)= estimated max hr (HRMx)

HRMx minus MRHR= (C)

Now find your personal target zones

(C) X .60 = (D) D + MRHR = ( ) 60% limit number
(C) X .70 = (E) E + MRHR = ( ) 70% limit number

(C) X .70 = (D) D + MRHR = ( ) 70% limit number
(C) X .80 = (E) E + MRHR = ( ) 80% limit number

Janet is 40 years old and her morning resting hr is 58.

220 minus 40 = 180
180 minus 58 = 122

122 X .60 = 73.2 73 + 58 = 131
122 X .70 = 85.4 85 + 58 = 143

Her 60-70% Target Zone would be 131-143

Now use that formula to determine both of your target zones.

Option 3 OwnZone™ Feature
If you own one of the M-Series models, just follow the instructions on how to go through a warm-up and it will find it for you automatically. Once you have it, start your exercise. If you ar looking for a lower intensity workout, stay in the lower half of the zone. If you seek higher intensity, keep it in the upper half. It’s that easy.

Option 4 Stress test
Have your physician perform a stress test and determine your max hr and
target zones for you. This is especially important if you are just starting out
an exercise program, are obese, or are coming back from a long layoff.

Step 2
Choose the Zone that corresponds to your goal

If you’re exercising to lose weight, try to do at least three workouts a week for 30 minutes in your 60-70% target zone. Time and intensity are the keys. If you can go longer, you will only benefit more.

Exercise Tip: You can burn almost twice as many calories by exercising twice a week for 1 hour, as you would exercising 5 times for 30 minutes. (Pocket Personal Trainer by Eric Harr)

As you get more fit aerobically, you should try different workouts each day. Your body will adapt to your exercise if you do the same thing over and over. Now that you have an HRM and know your Target Zones, you can use any activity to get a workout. Just let your HRM guide you.

Sample workout week once you move beyond a beginner:

Monday Exercise for 45 minutes to 1 hour at 60-70 %. Take the first 10 minutes to warm up below 60%.

Wednesday Walk to hill near your house below 60% as a warm-up. Once there, do hill repeats (walk up and recover while walking down, then repeat). While walking up, don’t let your heart rate get above 80%. When walking down, don’t start the next hill climb until your heart rate gets back down to 60%. Start with three of these and add on from there. Walk home at 60% to cool down

Friday Warm up for 10 minutes at 60%. Then exercise for 15 minutes at a steady pace staying in the 70-80% range. Then cool down for 5 minutes at 60% to cool down.

Weekend Try another activity using your HRM.

There are many different heart rate-based exercise programs available on the Internet or in books. Try the sample workouts above, or find one that works for you.

The key here is calorie burning. You need to exercise long enough to maximize calorie burn. But if you are like most people, you also have time constraints. An hour workout is a great benchmark to work towards, because you can get great caloric burn during 60 minutes. Variety is the key. A good rule of thumb. If you have the time, do a longer workout at a lower intensity (60-70%). If you have 30 minutes, warm-up and try to maintain a higher intesity (70-80%). You want to maximize the time that you have. If you have no time constraint, then build a program that incorporates both, like the one listed above. Make sure you are ready to take on those types of workouts. Check with your doctor before you move to the next level of exercise.

Some tips for using your Polar transmitter belt

Monday, August 14th, 2006

If you are having difficulty with the transmitter it may be due to one of the following reasons:

Electrical Interference:   Erratic readings on the receiver are usually caused by interference.  If the heart rate readings appear to be abnormal, check that your Polar HRM is not within range of other strong electromagnetic signals.  Common sources are televisions, computers, cars, cellphones,TV antennas, high voltage power lines (both above and below ground) and some exercise equipment.  Re-locating the position of the wrist receiver can usually solve this problem.

To find a location that has no interference, remove the chest transmitter and exercise as usual.  If the heart symbol continues to flash, you are picking up interference. In this case, move the wrist receiver to a location where it does not flash, then replace your chest transmitter.  In most cases when the interference is cause by a piece of exercise equipment, placing the wrist receiver on the side rail, away from the front electronics display of the equipment will correct the problem.

Please note:  Static electricity in clothing or a flapping shirt can cause electrical interference, so some items of clothing, i.e. man-made fibers, could be the cause.   Please try wetting the t’shirt in the area where the transmitter is.

Poor Conductivity: It is important that the electrodes are wet during the heart rate measurement mode.  If water does not ensure the flawless transmission, you can use water-soluble conductive cream instead.  If you choose to use a conductive cream, apply it to the ribbed-area of the transmitter belt only.

Dirty Electrodes: The transmitter electrodes should be cleaned with a mild soap and water solution and thoroughly dried after each use. Try cleaning the electrodes and test the transmitter again.

Positioning:  If the electrodes are clean and moist, and there is still no heart rate registering on the receiver, try to shift the transmitter around to the side of your body (try the left side first) or position it lower or higher on the chest.  In some cases, you can try the transmitter on your back, however, the belt must then be worn with the Polar logo upside down and facing out.  This ensures that the left electrode stays on the left side of the body and the right electrode stays on the right side of the body.  Make sure to wet the electrodes every time it is moved to a new position.

Medical Condition: There are a very small number of cases where a Polar HRM will not work due to a medical condition, for example: low voltage R-wave signals; atrial fibrillation or bundle branch blocks.