Several new fitness trackers, along with heart rate monitors, allow users to constantly measure their heart rate throughout the day. For the average person, this information may be interesting, but it remains to be seen whether it can help make you healthier, experts say.
Heart rate monitors geared toward athletes have been available for years, but recently, fitness trackers aimed at the general public have started to include heart rate as a measure to track along with steps taken, calories burned, distanced walked and sleep.
For example, the Withings Pulse includes a sensor that lets you check your heart rate using your finger, and the Basis B1 has heart rate monitor built into the wristband itself, allowing you to know your rate at any time. (The Basis also graphs this information, so users can see how their heart rate changed during the day or night.)
Knowing your heart rate can be useful when you exercise, because it will help you know whether your exercise is intense enough to provide health benefits, but not so intense that it could cause health problems, said Dr. James Borchers, a sports medicine physician at Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. This sweet spot is known as the "target zone," which is about 60 to 80 percent of your maximum heart rate, according to the Cleveland Clinic. [The Best Heart Rate Monitor Watches for Exercise]