Originally designed for runners, GPS watches made a breakthrough in other sports also such as cycling or hiking. They are designed for those who are willing to push their limits with accurate and detailed performance data.
The choice of a GPS watch is based on 3 criteria:
– Speed and pace measurement
– Heart rate monitoring
– Product connectivity.
1. SPEED AND TRAVELLED DISTANCE MEASUREMENT
The basic feature of GPS watches is to provide an instant view of your speed and distance travelled, so that you can manage your efforts better.
If you practice sports on an occasional basis, choose an easy, intuitive GPS watch that only measures basic parameters such as:
– Instant speed
– Average speed
– Distance travelled
2. HEART RATE MONITORING
More advanced athletes will need a more comprehensive tracking of their fitness level.
In this case, we recommend to opt for a GPS watch that is compatible with a heart rate monitor, including the following features:
– HEART RATE – To keep an eye on your heart rate during workout
– INTERVAL TRAINING – To make progress by alternating fast, slow and recovery phases
– TARGET ZONE SETTING – To set goals and reach them by managing your efforts
For optimal performance tracking and customised coaching, choose a watch that is Bluetooth compatible and connect it to a dedicated app (e.g.: Decathlon Coach) to benefit from:
– Analysis and coaching functions
– Maps to view your routes
– Speed, distance and heart rate graphs
– Session log & comparison with other users
OPTICAL HRMs: HOW DO THEY WORK?
Heart rate is one of the most reliable indicators to assess your physical fitness and the optical technology is the latest in heart rate monitoring tools.
HEART RATE IN THE SKIN!
Optical HRMs are based on one or several LEDs that emit light and on a sensor that receives the light signal: the key principle of optical HRMs is to shine a light through the skin.
You should know that our skin comprises three separate layers: hypodermis, dermis and epidermis.
The dermis is vascularised and contains many capillaries filled with blood. When the heart pumps blood, it slightly changes the amount of blood in the dermis.
The principle is, therefore, to send green light through these capillaries and, depending on the level of light that is reflected, the sensor will be able to assess the blood flow, and consequently the heart rate.
Indeed, the light was specifically selected to be absorbed by blood. The blood sent into the capillaries will modify this green light that will then be reflected by the skin and detected by the HRM watch.
This type of measurement is called photoplethysmography (PPG).
The signal is then processed by algorithms that separate the noise from the heart rate measurement. Depending on your type of activity, the results will be more or less accurate.