Heart rate monitors are becoming increasingly popular these days. These devices measure your heart beat in real time or record it for later study. They are widely used in all kinds of physical training. One great model is the Polar FT7 Heart Rate Monitor. The Polar FT7 gives you the average and maximum heart rate of your training in bpm (beats per minute). The bpm indicates how hard your heart is working and can also be expressed as a percentage of your maximum heart rate.

The Polar FT7 lets you enter your HRmax (maximum heart rate). A good rule of thumb in order to calculate your HRmax is the formula: 226 minus your age for women, and 220 minus your age for men. Note that your HRmax is quite stable (it is mostly to do with age and genetics) and will not change much as your fitness improvements.

The Polar FT7 also has a feature called “Your Manual target zone”. You can set the target zone for your training as bpm, as a percentage of your HRmax, or as a percentage of your heart rate reserve (HRR%).

The Polar Energy Pointer tells you if the main effect of your training is fat burning or fitness improvement. This is graphically displayed on the monitor. When you are below a certain graphic point on the display, you are fat burning, and above that point you are improving your aerobic fitness.

The Polar OwnCal® feature measures how many calories you expend during your workout and also the cumulative calories during several workouts.

Thanks to the Polar OwnCode® feature (5kHz), you get coded transmission so as to register your own heart results rather than someone else's.

The Polar FT7 Heart Rate Monitor is compatible with both PC and Mac (Intel-based) via Polar FlowLink. At Polarpersonaltrainer.com you can create your own training diary and training programs. You may record training data starting from the last reset. You can store up to 99 files of weekly training data.

The HeartTouch feature enables users to access functions without pressing any buttons. This is quite handy if, for instance, you are wearing gloves. Simply bring your training computer close to the transmitter.

Unlike some other brands, Polar uses clearly audible alerts – which is quite practical in a loud city environment. Or if you find yourself in a swimming pool – a very unique feature of the Polar FT7 is its under water ability. This is made possible by Polar's use of a strong transmitter signal.

Nowadays, the Polar Heart Rate Monitor batteries are user replaceable, for both the watch and the chest strap, so no more waiting around for a battery change. The Polar FT7 has a low battery indicator, time and date, and a back light for low light situations.

To sum up, the FT7 model gives you heart rates, calorie burns, a graphic display of whether you are burning calories or improving fitness, and training records. The FT7 is a great in-between choice – it is more advanced than a basic monitor such as the FT4, but it lacks some of the features of the more expensive FT40 and FT60 models.