By Johnie Jonker

Electro-Magnetic Compatibility, or rather, in this case, Incompatibility.

Well, what does this mean? Ever notice the CE, GS, TUV or any of a host of other markings on amongst other, portable electronic devices? It’s on your laptop power supply, your cell-phone charger, the food mixer, etc. These are international safety standards to which the various devices comply and (should) have been tested to, which means, amongst others, that when turning on one device, it will not electronically interfere with another, being compatible with it.

So if your wife switches on her hair drier, the TV picture does not go skew. Or Uncle Phil’s cardioverter-defibrillator (ok then, pacemaker) does not attack him. A necessary safe-guard, it would seem.

Of course cars, also being highly electronicised these days, have to comply with similar requirements. However…

Regular exercisers will be familiar with heart rate monitors, such as the Polar 610i.

These HRMs work in conjunction with a chest strap, transmitting the wearer’s heart rate at periodic intervals. The signal is of an electromagnetic nature and picked up by the wrist receiver or gym treadmill. The data can then be displayed and/or recorded in real time for an instant indication of effort, and also allow PC download and analysis at a later stage.

The basic formula for maximum heart rate is calculated by the HRM as 220 minus your age, so in my case a heart rate of 168 beats per minute should be achievable prior to being carried out on a stretcher.

I have however found a way to achieve even better heart rates without going to the gym at all. How, you may well ask – by sitting in my car. And no, not road-rage related.

Getting into the car with a heart rate of sub – 60 bpm, the moment the ignition is switched on, the indication revs up to 210 – 230 bpm, the abundance of electromagnetic interference flying around in the cabin totally swamping the Wearlink signal.

Now, if the over-reading was just a bit more realistic, say 85% of the max heart rate, one could (ab?)use it to effortlessly exercise and earn points through Vitality. “I’m going to the gym, dear”, would take on a whole new meaning: sitting in your car in the garage at home for 30 minutes, listening to some relaxing music, having a beer and a really good chill. But no, trust the car manufacturer to go and completely overdo it!

I am sure that at least some readers would agree that the above type of exercising may actually prove to be more beneficial to their health than a strenuous work-out at the gym. Yes?….No?

But back to matters automotive: If a local motoring magazine were to publish this information, I guess it would be under their “Leisure Heels” section.

This may also well be a world first and the dawn of a new era in terms of automotive advertising: “Go Green! Buy our new model, and communicate with the dolphins and whales!

Being bombarded with such an unseen force from within, I have become wary about possible, even bigger, forces from without. So when I’m on my way to the gym wearing the HRM, one of my “pre-flight” checks prior to departing from home, is to ensure that the sunroof is CLOSED, for fear of being beamed up by Scotty.



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