As technology advances, heart rate monitors are becoming increasingly complex, offering a growing number of functions. This can be a problem for purchasers, who must spend more and more time researching just what all these functions are for, and whether or not they are competitor price monitoring needed.

Here are seven functions that are found on some competitive intelligence monitors:

* A clock function. Most monitors nowadays have the ability to tell the time. Some include an alarm clock and a calendar. As a result, your monitor can also often double as your wristwatch.

* A stopwatch. Most monitors also incorporate this, a very useful function if you are running or cycling.

* The ability to set a target heart rate zone. This is available on even some quite low-priced monitors. You set your target zone, and then an alarm sounds when your heart rate goes above or below your zone.

* Calorie calculator. Many monitors, even some quite cheap ones, incorporate the ability to measure the number of calories you have burned during your exercise session. Often you can also calculate on an accumulated basis – that is, say, the number of calories burned in a day or a week – allowing you to set weight-loss targets for your work-outs.

* A coded transmitter is a useful function if you work out in the company of others, as it will stop unwanted interference from your neighbors’ monitors.

* Water resistance. You may not think this is an issue, but in fact it is important in stopping your sweat from seeping into the monitor’s mechanism.