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The polar F6 is watch combining an ECG standard heart rate monitor (this means the accuracy is comparable with an ECG but it doesnít provide the whole functionality of one. The unit will not detect irregular rhythms or other problems ).
I guess a few of you are wondering what I am doing with one of these possibly unsightly things. I bought my first one a couple of years just after I was diagnosed as diabetic following pancreatic surgery. Diabetes has quite a lot of unpleasant risks associated with it such as hardening of the arteries and raised cholesterol which can lead to strokes and heart conditions such as angina and heart attacks ; Degeneration of the nerves and poor circulation in the legs leading to foot ulceration and infection; Kidney disease and eye problems. I donít know about you but I donít much fancy any of them. The best way to avoid these is to maintain a healthy blood glucose level and this isnít just a matter of cutting out sugar and taking medication. Exercise plays a very important part but like most of us Im not an athlete, I just want to do the minimum amount in the minimum time and that is what a watch like this helps with. The first wrist HRM (heart rate monitor) I bought was a £4.99 JML. It was cheap sweaty plastic that missed as many heart beats as it picked up and it was Ugly. The polar F6 is a great step up from that
Overall basics The Polar 6 is a compact unit designed to be worn on the wrist and its going to cost you around £50. It comes in a choice of black, stone and pink and comes in a choice of male or female versions with the female version being smaller both in wrist size and in actual size and actually appears quite dainty It is a general purpose unit although Polar do make specialist units designed for runners and cyclists the F6 is more aimed at people like me: those who exercise and like to maximise the cardiovascular effects of the session and minimise the time, to do this you aim to stay within your optimum exercise zone. You donít have to have a HRM for this itís quite acceptable to take your pulse and calculate your range. If you want to look into this search for the Karvonen Formula
Letís look at what we get for £50
In the box
Wrist unit, transmitter, elastic chest strap to hold the transmitter to your chest, manual including a quick guide, you also get access to Polarís web site where free registration gives you access to exercise diary, various tests and calculators, reports and articles and support including product tips
Itís a watch which tells the time in 12 or 24 hour clock with the date and an alarm. It is also a stopwatch, is water resistant to 30 metres and has a backlight. On the right side of the face is a button to turn on the light and a button which switches off the alarm and exits the menu. The top left side button moves up through the menu and selection lists and changes the display. The bottom left button moves down through the menu and selection lists. In the centre is the ok button to accept selection and start recording
It can display your heart rate as beats per minute (B PM) or as a % of maximum heart rate. It has both visual and audible alarms when you are in the target range. manual target zone (% / bpm) or automatic age-based target zone (% / bpm)
It tells you the total exercise time and the amount of time spent in target zone. It works out the average of your heart rate during the total exercise and your Target zone limits. It has various diary functions: Fitness Exercise Diary, Exercise file info page with date and time and has 12 f exercise files (with summaries). It also works out calorie expenditure and breaks this into Exercise/Total/Fat %)
Computer connection features
Exercise data is downloaded from wrist unit to Polar web service via what they term soniclink or via software onto your PC. You can upload settings from Polar web site or software to wrist unit
Weight management features
It counts and displays calorie expenditure and counts the calories you burn during exercise Polar call this ability OwnCal. It can show your energy expenditure during one exercise session as well as your accumulated calories during several exercise sessions. The calculation starts when you put your transmitter on and start exercising. You can set daily and weekly exercise goals in terms of calorie expenditure with the OwnCal feature, and then monitor the accumulated amount of calories expended during one week or during a single exercise session or a set amount of time e.g. one week.
Cycling features : it has an optional bike mount
Polar exercise features
Wireless ECG accurate heart rate is its main feature obviously. To support this it has indicators for when you are in your target range; you can use the audible or visual alarm. It has a display of fitness bullets one for every ten minutes in target zone It works out your maximum heart rate of total exercise and average heart rate of total exercise. They call the exercise features OwnZone . it allows you to determine personal heart rate limits for an exercise session. It guides you through an appropriate warm-up routine and automatically determines a safe and effective exercise heart rate zone - your OwnZone - while taking into account your current physical condition.
Polar Heart Rate Monitors use multiple methods for determining your OwnZone. The primary method is to measure your heart rate variability during the warm-up period before exercising. If the measurement is not successful, your latest saved OwnZone limits are used. If there are no previous limits in the memory, the Polar Heart Rate Monitor will automatically calculate OwnZone limits based on your age-predicted maximum heart rate (220 minus age). You should determine your OwnZone at the beginning of your workout whenever you change exercise environment and/or exercise mode or if your mental state changes when feeling stressed, for instance.
The OwnZone Basic corresponds to 65-85 % of the maximum heart rate. Exercise at the lower end of this intensity level can be conducted for extended periods safely and often yields the best results for weight control, while exercise at the upper end of this intensity produces the best results for improving cardiovascular (aerobic) fitness.
The OwnZone Advanced feature consists of two training areas: OwnZone Low and OwnZone High, providing greater variations in exercising than the OwnZone Basic area, which can be rather wide for more focused training.
The OwnZone Light corresponds to 60-70% of your maximum heart rate. This intensity still feels fairly easy for most people. It helps in weight control and improves endurance and cardiovascular fitness.
The OwnZone Moderate corresponds to 70-80% of your maximum heart rate. This intensity is especially good for people who are exercising regularly. Exercising in this zone is particularly effective for improving cardiovascular fitness.
The OwnZone Hard corresponds to 80-90% of maximum heart rate. You will find yourself breathing heavily, having tired muscles and feeling fatigued. This intensity is recommended occasionally for fit people.
The OwnZone Weight corresponds to about 60-75% of your maximum heart rate. The OwnZone Weight is ideal for weight loss exercise for less fit individuals and for those recovering from sickness or intensive training.
* That all sounds quite complicated I know but you donít have to get to grips with it all at once
Polar OwnCode is a method of preventing cross-talk from other heart rate monitors so if youíre in the gym or on a run/walk with others itís not going to be picking up anyone elseís monitor transmissions
Iíve tried to give you a feel of what this heart rate monitor does without getting too complicated but I think it does appear harder than it actually is. Thereís quite a lot of it that you donít need to use straight away but is there ready when your fitness improves. The most important part is setting the monitor up. Activation only has to be done once as once the unit is activated it doesnít turn off. When inputting the basic settings it is important to be accurate, i.e. height, weight, sex birthday (it adapts to your age) as all these items have an impact on the accuracy of the measurements such as your target heart rate and calorie expenditure
Polar will do any repairs and maintenance either themselves or at an authorised Polar Service Centre. Warranty does not cover any damage caused by service not authorised by them. If it is out of warranty and water resistance is not a concern, you may take your receiver to a local jeweller or battery replacement centre for battery change. The display starts to fade when the battery becomes low. The web site contains charges for service and replacement which isnít expensive. It comes with a 2 year warranty
I have the Ladies Black Polar F6 which I Use for walking, swimming, running and cycling. I do different things depending on my mood or the weather, plus too much running or cycling is bad for the knees. The wrist unit doesnít slip about nor give me a sweat rash unlike the JML. The chest band feels a bit weird the first few times, particularly when swimming (the unit and transmitter are completely waterproof to 30 metres.)When using the receiver when swimming, they recommend that you do not press any buttons under water. You soon get used to knowing how hard you need to work to get into your target zone and it does stop you slacking. You get so you are able to anticipate the beep so it is useful. Uploading the information does give you an idea of how well you are doing and does give you feedback. The calorie information is just a guide really but it does give you an idea of what you need to do to work off that chocolate bar or glass of brandy and so on. I have found it useful and itís not expensive particularly when you look at it in terms of your health and the benefits you gain. On the downside: there probably arenít enough functions for an athlete or a fitness junkie but people like that probably have a better HRM than this already