A running watch with a heart rate monitor is a useful tool for anyone who wants to get the best out of their workout, whether you are an athlete or just looking to increase your health and fitness. Your heart rate is the average number of heart beats per minute. Your resting heart rate (when you are completely rested) indicates your basic overall heart health and fitness level, the fitter you are the lower it will be as it requires less effort to pump blood around the body. During exercise, your maximum heart rate will be the highest number of beats your heart contracts during one minute. It's good to measure your maximum heart rate while doing exercise to ensure you stay within a safe range, and to measure whether the exercise is actually working well enough to raise your heart rate to acceptable ranges and levels. Finally, your recovery heart rate is what your body will drop to two minutes after stopping an exercise session. This helps to evaluate your overall heart fitness level. The manufacturer's manuals will include guides to the different heart zones and watches will have preset zones that can be edited. When used correctly, a heart rate monitor can be an extremely valuable device in ensuring you are training both safely and effectively. Please note, if undertaking an exercise programme after a prolonged absence, it is advisable to consult your doctor first.