How do treadmills measure Heart Rate & Can you TRUST them?

How do treadmills measure Heart Rate

During the quarantine time, I had to work out from my home like all of you, and while using the treadmill I had a thought about How do treadmills measure heart rate, they had pulse sensors on the handlebars, but they are different than the heart rate sensors found on the fitness bands and smartwatches. I am sure you also think about it at least one time in your life while using a treadmill.

The pulse sensors read the small electrical signal that is created by the heart to pump blood to different parts of the body and that electrical signal passes through the blood veins to our palm, and this sensor reads that electrical signal and shows the pulse readings on the screen. 

If your hands are wet or slippery then it becomes difficult for the pulse sensor to read the signals and then it doesn’t show you any kind of pulse reading. So, first, clean your hands and make sure there is nothing coming between the pulse sensor and your hand if you want to know the correct pulse readings. 

How Accurate is a Heart Rate Counter on a Treadmill?

You must be wondering about how accurate the Heart Rate counter of a treadmill for sure. These pulse sensors that most treadmills come with are not so accurate, as compared to other heart rate measuring methods, if you want to measure your heart rate most accurately then you don’t trust these pulse sensors.

These pulse sensors provide you an approximate number about your heart rate, and if you want a more accurate pulse reading then you have to use other methods like a chest strap, these are the most accurate method of reading pulse readings.

 — Also read: What are the Benefits of Running on Treadmill? (Top 9)

In most exercise machines like treadmills, exercise bikes, elliptical machines, you will found pulse sensors that are silver in color and is integrated with the handlebars of the machine, you can put your hands on them and it will start reading your pulses, and after 10-15 seconds, they will show you an estimated number of pulse readings. 

How to measure Heart Rate on Treadmill?

There are three methods that you can use to measure your heart rate while using a treadmill, one is a traditional pulse reading sensor that you can found on the handlebars, the second is by using a chest strap that will connect to your smartphone, and the last one is by using a fitness band or smartwatch that will also be connected to your smartphone. 

The chest strap one is the most accurate one to measure the heart rate but it is not so comfortable to wear while running or jogging, the smartwatch or fitness band is a more comfortable one to use, but it is not that accurate but you can measure your heart rate of your entire workout. 

 — Also read: Tips to Improve Your Treadmill Training

In new treadmills, you will not found pulse sensors on the handle of the treadmill, there is another way to read the heart rate and this method is more accurate as compared to the handgrip pulse sensors. 

They are now giving chest straps that you can wear and are connected to the treadmill, and it is far more accurate. There are four methods of measuring your heart rate:

Traditional Handlebar Pulse Sensors: This is a very old method of measuring heart rate, and now many new treadmills ditching this method, as it is not so accurate and it can easily fail after one or two years of use. 

Chest Straps: This method is the most accurate method of measuring heart rate, and many new treadmills are coming with this device which will be connected to the treadmill itself, but it is not so comfortable to use. 

How to measure Heart Rate on Treadmill?

And if your treadmill doesn’t have these features then you can buy for yourself from the online stores, that can easily connect with your smartphone and then you can measure more accurately. We will attach some trusted products that I have tested while my training.

  • Polar H10: This is a Waterproof Heart Rate measuring sensor that comes with a Bluetooth connection and this is one of the best selling Chest Stap Heart Rate Monitor. You can check the reviews and the latest price of it from here.
  • Garmin HRM-Dual: This is another chest strap monitor from a different brand, this one is also one of the most trusted brands out there, you can check more information about it from here.

Fitness Bands and Smartwatches: This is not that much accurate as compared to the Chest Straps, but this is comfortable to use, and if the pulse sensor of your treadmill is not working then you can buy a fitness band or a smartwatch to measure your heart rate. 

 — Also read: NordicTrack T 6.5S Treadmill Review,  #1 Best Selling Treadmill of AMAZON

And you can use that smart band or smartwatch to track other health vitals as well. I’ll attach my recommended products that I have testes and used:

  • Garmin Forerunner 645: This is a runners smartwatch that comes with many great features like music, GPS, Heart Rate Sensor, Bluetooth, and has 7 days of battery backup is the best selling smartwatch on Amazon. You can check about it from here.
  • Xiaomi Mi Band 5: This is a fitness band with 14k+ reviews and comes with a color display with all great features that one can use while running and is affordable as well, just below $50. You can read about the features and specifications from here.

Manual Method: This method is mostly used by doctors and physicians, you can check your pulses by placing your two fingers just between the bone and the tendon of your left hand above the blood veins and then you feel small pulses, count the pulses for fifteen seconds and multiply it by four to measure the per minute pulses.

How to manually check the heart rate

What to do When Treadmill Heart Rate Monitor is Not Working?

If your treadmills heart rate monitor is not working properly then you can do these things to measure your pulses, first clean your hands and palm, so that your hand can grip the handlebars properly and if your hands are dirty then the pulse sensor cannot be able to read your pulses.

If this still doesn’t work, then you can buy a chest strap or a fitness band or smartwatch to check your heart rate. There are many affordable chest straps and smartwatches or fitness bands that you can use to measure your heart rate. 

We have compared some of the best selling and affordable smartwatches and fitness bands here on our website, you can read those comparisons as well.

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