Wearing a heart rate monitor allows users to track changes in their heart rates during physical activity. For people with heart disease, tracking the heart rate ensures the heart is not overtaxed during exercise.
Athletes and individuals with heart-related health issues may benefit from wearing heart rate monitors. A heart rate monitor is generally not required by individuals performing strength exercises or casual cardiovascular exercise.
Professional athletes, such as runners and cyclists, may use a heart rate monitor to ensure they are achieving optimal aerobic fitness training. Regular aerobic exercise strengthens the heart and allows it to pump more blood with each beat. Therefore, a lower resting heart rate is generally an indicator of good physical fitness. During training, athletes may want to raise their heartbeats per minute to a percentage of their maximum heart rate. For healthy individuals, an MHR is roughly equal to the person's age subtracted from 220. For example, a 20-year-old man should have an MHR of about 200.
For individuals with illnesses such as heart disease, a heart rate monitor may be necessary during exercise to ensure the heart is never stressed to the point of being a health risk. It is important for these individuals to consult with a doctor to determine a safe maximum heart rate.