If you’ve spent any amount of time in the gym, then you’ll have at least seen, if not worn a heart rate monitor. They come in many guises and they measure your bodies vital stats, with the core aim of helping you to train with better efficiency and to derive better results. Now though, heart rate monitors could be set to get a whole lot smarter.
The next-generation of heart rate monitors are likely to measure lactate levels in your sweat, which will provide a much more accurate profile over exactly how intensely you’ve been working out.
These next-gen fit tech products will be worn more like a stamp or even tattoo – already there’s talk of creating bespoke designs that will enable sports stars to wear these measuring tools during games, complete with a sponsor opportunity – and the stamp will analyse the athletes sweat as they workout or compete.
The most likely use of this technology will be as an augmenter as opposed to a replacement for traditional heart rate monitoring. The potential of these devices is not lost on coaches, including those who operate at grass-root level. The head of sport performance and the University of Texas has already been waxing lyrical about the potential of this tech, stating “this has a lots of promise. It would be the next step up from heart-rate monitoring. With lactate you can see how anaerobic the athlete is getting, which can help you get a more precise measurement on training specs.”
Lactic acid is the byproduct of a muscles work, but it is only created in anaerobic environments. These environments occur when the body temporarily works beyond its natural capacity, such as in peak intensity bursts. The classic example is the 100 metre sprinter. The sprinter is unable to get oxygen into his muscles quick enough, forcing his body to work anaerobicly.
These kinds of very high intensity sessions are not accurately captured by measuring your heart rate alone. Thats where the lactate stamp tech comes in, because it will pick up the levels of lactic acid that your body is creating, and will thus be ale to recognise when these environments are occurring.
The main application for this tech will likely to be in high intensity sports like sprinting. However, with increasing members of the general public turning to HiiT style workouts, including Tabatta’s, interval training and Crossfit, its likely to gain a wider appeal quickly.
This technology, involving biosensors, is being worked on by scientists out of the University of San Diego, California. We don;t yet have a timeline on its completion, let alone commercial availability, but this definitely looks like fit-tech thats well worth keeping an eye on.