asked on the other topic that I stupidly created (instead of posting a reply on this one
That's a great start to the year, Macca! Keep it up!
Out of curiosity, how do you figure out your heart-rate while exercising? Do you have one of those heart-rate monitors that strap around your chest? I ask because I wanted to use my heart-rate to measure my exercise level and bought a watch that measured HR as well as exercise time. Problem is that it's utterly useless! You have to put your finger on a sensor for a minute and the slightest twitch ruins the results. I can't even get an accurate result while standing still let alone while running!
Yes, I have a heart rate monitor strap with a watch that keeps track of things as I go (Polar brand). I have a heart condition, and my cardiologist insists that I wear it to ensure my HR doesn't spike.
I have been using them for nearly 10 years and have had three different models. I've always bought one of the models at or near the bottom of the range, as I'm not really an athlete and each time I've got a new one the functionality available has improved.
The one I have at the moment sets up the HR ranges you want to maintain while you exercise, then monitors your HR and exercise time. At the end of your session it calculates average HR. It stores these in memory so you can recall all of these until the next time you start up the HR monitoring function.
Some models go further and calculate Kjs burnt off and keep up to 4 sets of HR ranges and results, but I really don't need that.
They are pretty reliable, although the strap has to be quite tight for the monitoring to work properly. It is meant to sit right across the sternum high on the chest, so it can be a little uncomfortable.
Polar have a sports top for women where the monitoring part of the strap slips into a complete top and you do away with the elastic strap across the back.
I would recommend them - I'm not sure if they still do it, but when I bought my first one it came with this fantastic book about using your HR to monitor exercise levels and how this can be applied. It talked about a range of applications from losing weight, overall health management in old age right through to high performance training for elite athletes. It gave a range of recommendations, including a management plan based on the "FIT" (Frequency, Intesity, Time) principles.
I'm not sure if they still offer the book, but I'm sure you could find other literature on the web that provides the same detail.