The vast majority of fitness fans are ignoring their heart rate when exercising, a new study by Fitbit has shown.
The wearable company polled a selection of British fitness enthusiasts and found that while 76% of users realised that heart rate was an important metric when training, only 30% were actually aware of it when they hit the roads or gym.
Runners guide: How to train using heart rate zones
Of course, heart rate tracking is a big part of Fitbit's Surge and Charge HR devices, so the company has teamed up with a heart rate expert to communicate its message that tracking your ticker has huge benefits.
It's signed up sport scientist and former Olympian Prof. Greg Whyte as an ambassador to create a series of videos to explain the fundamentals of using biometrics in your workouts. And the message from Dr. Whyte is that everyone can benefit from tracking their heart rate, even those who don't spend time running.
"Heart rate is not only an important indicator of every day health and fitness levels, but also an indicator of workout intensity and all-day calorie burn," said Whyte.
Essential reading: How to choose the best heart rate monitor for you
"The PurePulse function on the Fitbit Charge HR and Surge helps users to understand how to push themselves while training, but also gives them a fuller picture of their health, 24/7, as they track resting heart rate over time."
Whyte's message is that as you get fitter your resting and active heart rates drop signaling an improvement in health. What's more, being aware of your heart rate when you exercise means you can ensure you're getting the right pay off for your workouts.
Of course, Whyte and Fitbit are correct. Training in the correct heart rate zones can supercharge your training, and monitoring your resting heart rate is a helpful gauge of your health – and for hardcore athletes can prevent over-training.
However, as we wrote in our Fitbit Surge and Fitbit Charge HR reviews, while the company excels at showing off your data, it still lacks the ability to help you set up effective training plans.
As the infographic below proves, having the information on the wrist isn't enough. Working out zones is still mystifying for even experienced runners. And what is a healthy resting heart rate? Even when you know which zones are which, effectively implementing that into a training programme is nearly impossible, due to it being so subjective and personal.
When companies like Fitbit can be more proactive about heart rate tracking, and offer programmes based on your biometric data rather than just reporting it on graphs, getting that 70% on board will be a much easier task.
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