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How Does Fitbit Calculate Resting Heart Rate

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What Are The Heart

Fitbit Charge 2 – BPM, Heart Rate Zones and Fitness Level

Personalized zones adjust as your fitness level or other factors change.


Below Zones

Below 40% of your heart rate reserve

Below the fat burn zone, your heart beats at a slower pace. Youre at rest for now.

Fat Burn Zone

Between 40% and 59% of your heart rate reserve

In the fat burn zone, youre likely in a moderate activity such as a brisk walk. Your heart rate and breathing might be elevated, but you can still carry on a conversation.

Cardio Zone

Between 60% and 84% of your heart rate reserve

In the cardio zone, youre likely doing a vigorous activity such as running or spinning.

Peak Zone

Greater than 85% of your heart rate reserve

In the peak zone, youre likely doing a short, intense activity that improves performance and speed such as sprinting or high-intensity interval training.

What Is The Most Accurate Way To Find Your Resting Heart Rate

It is believed that the most accurate way to measure your resting state is using a wireless monitor strapped around your chest. It reads out to a fitness tracker worn on your wrist but a smartwatch may also do the trick. Digital fitness trackers worn on the wrist such as at-home blood pressure machines or smartphone apps are believed to be less accurate than checking your heart rate manually.

How Does Fitbit Measure Heart Rate

If you wonder How does Fitbit measure heart rate? we have the answer for you. Fitbit has an optical heart rate monitor, also known as photoplethysmography. Unlike EEG or Electrocardiogram, which reads electrical activity, an optical heart rate monitor detects your pulse by shining a light through your skin to measure blood flow.; However, some might argue that it is not as accurate as using other kinds of devices.

However, some factors may affect the measurement, such as physiology, location of the device and even movement. This is why Fitbit recommends users wear its products snuggled up a couple of inches above the wrist to get the most accurate readings but lets face it, no device is perfect or is said to measure what they measure with a 100% accuracy.;

But, How does Fitbit detect heart rate? When your heart beats, your capillaries expand and contract based on blood volume changes. To determine your heart rate, the optical heart-rate sensor in your Fitbit device flashes its green LEDs many times per second and uses light-sensitive photodiodes to detect these volume changes in the capillaries above your wrist.;

Subsequently, your device calculates how many times your heart beats per minute and the optical heart-rate sensor can detect a range between 30 to 220 bpm when you sleep and while you are awake is said to detect a range between 40 to 220 bpm. However, on the Fitbit Versa 2, the range varies from 30 to 250 bpm.;;

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Why Measure Your Rhr

Whereas your FTP;is a good indicator of your work,;resting heart rate can be a very good indicator of recovery. The proper combination of work;and recovery is necessary for continued improvement in your performance.;The goal is to fit in as much work as possible without accumulating excessive fatigue.

If you;havent put in enough work, youre simply not going to be fast enough. But, if you;havent recovered enough, you could be headed for a whole host of problems. A lack of proper recovery leads to fatigue, which holds you back from the benefits of;your training. Worst of all, excessive fatigue;often leaves you prone to illnesses that can derail your training.

What Should Your Heart Rate Be

Solved: How does Fitbit calculate Resting Heart Rate ...

Heart rate norms are based primarily on age rather than gender, although men tend to have slightly lower heart rates than women.

The ideal resting heart rate for adults is 60 to 100 bpm. Very fit individuals such as athletes may have resting heart rates below 60 bpm.

Target heart rates can be used to maximize the efficiency of your workouts, as well as to keep you safe. Typically, exercising at 60 to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate is most beneficial.

Exercising at the lower end of this percentage or doing interval training is ideal for fat burning. Exercising at the higher end is ideal for building cardiovascular strength.

To calculate your estimated maximum heart rate, you can use the equation of subtracting your age from 220. For example, if youre 45, then your approximate maximum heart rate is 175 bpm .

You can then use your maximum heart rate to determine what your target heart rate is while exercising.

The chart below shows estimated maximum and target heart rates for various age groups:


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Nail Every Workout With Target Heart Rate Zones

Now that your heart rate zones are set and you know what they mean, you can work out at the right intensity again.

Using your Fitbit tracker, start a workout as you normally would. As you begin moving, no matter which PurePulse-enabled tracker you own, youll see a visual representation of your zones.For instance, in the picture above;the heart is in; the cardio zone. Want to work on speed? Pick up the pace. Looking to blast fat? Ease up to drop back into your Fat Burn zone. When you adjust your pace on the fly, your Fitbit tracker responds instantly.

If you see the outline of a heart but no dashes, your heart rate is below 50 percent of your max, meaning youre not in a zone. And thats totally ok! If you want to get a cardiovascular boost, just increase your intensity. Here are four ways to upgrade your walk to a workout.

Heart rate reading seem off? Follow these guidelines to increase PurePulse accuracy.

Review Your Time In Heart Rate Zones

At the end of your workout, click on the exercise tileon your Fitbit app dashboard to view a summary of your workout. In addition to seeing exercise duration, calories burned, and average heart rate, youll also be able to see how much time you spent in each of your three heart rate zones and how your heart rate fluctuated over the course of your workout.

If your heart rate information seems offtoo high or too low based on how hard you felt like you were workingand you know you were wearing your tracker correctly , you may need to set custom heart rate zones.

Heart rate tracking is helpful in the;short termit helps you evaluate your workout and see what, if anything, you should do differently;next timebut its also valuable over time. The more you work out with heart rate, the more youll also be able to track patterns in your fitness programlike if youre spending too much or too little time at any particular exercise intensity. The result? You hit your goals faster and with less risk of injury or overtraining. Go, you.

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This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for medical diagnosis or treatment. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet, altering your sleep habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.

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How Can I Check My Heart Rate

Simply swipe up on your clock face to see your current heart rate measurement and either your heart-rate zone or your resting heart rate. However, to see your heart rate details tap or swipe .

If your device has an Exercise app, you have the option to check your heart rate in real-time and the heart rate zone when you are working out. However, not that your device doesnt track your heart rate while you are swimming.;

Another common question regarding heart rate monitoring is whats my resting heart rate? Well, your resting heart rate corresponds to the number of times your heart beats per minute when you are well-rested and relaxed. Typically, resting heart rate ranges between 60 to 100 bpm, but this rate can vary depending on age and fitness condition.;

What The Lawsuit Says

Fitbit Heart Rate Claims Tested | Consumer Reports

The;lawsuit;says that users;have found inaccuracies in the Fitbit devices after measuring their pulse manually or with other equipment. And the lawsuit also cites independent testing. We went and had a board-certified cardiologist put some folks through different levels of exercise and test the different models, Jonathan Selbin, the lead partner for the plaintiffs, says. And, sure enough, particularly at high intensity levels, they are wildly inaccurate. The lawsuit claims that readings were off by an average of 24.34 beats per minute , and a whopping 75 bpm in extreme cases.;

Fitbit says it stands behind its heart rate monitoring technology, which the company calls PurePulse. However, the company wouldnt say how it conducts its own testing. For proprietary reasons and because we operate in an extremely competitive environment, we do not disclose our specific validation study methodologies and results, a spokesperson told us.;

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Best Devices For Measuring Heart Rate

So now you know all the different kinds of heart rate and how to measure them using clocks and math. Even though the traditional methods aren’t all that hard, there are easier — and potentially more accurate — ways to measure and track your heart rate.

Of course, the most accurate readings will come from a lab test or other clinical method. But since most people don’t have access to and don’t need those methods, these devices will work just fine.

Sleep And Resting Heart Rate

Many people overlook the importance of sleep, burning both ends of the candle when it comes to getting some shut-eye. Not only does sleep deprivation affect a persons ability to think clearly and quickly, but it also affects their RHR. According to the analysis by Fitbit, the optimal sleep time for a healthy RHR is 7.25 hours. Any more or any less shut-eye and a persons RHR will increase.

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How To View Your Heart Rate On A Fitbit

Below we’ll get into the intricacies of the heart rate monitor, but it’s worth pointing out how you can actually view your heart rate data, too.

Depending on the device itself, you should be able to see your current BPM on the home screen or by swiping. For detailed info from your exercise or on resting heart rate, you’ll need to head to the Fitbit app’s dashboard and tap through to the Heart Rate section and select the day you want to view. The same also applies to the Fitbit web app.

Age And Resting Heart Rate

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As a;person ages, their resting heart rate should not change significantly, but this relatively steady state was not shown in the data collected by Fitbit. Instead of staying constant, Fitbits data indicates that RHR increases with age, reaching its maximum between ages 45 and 50. It then surprisingly starts to decline. This unexpected midlife climb could be the result of stress from kids, difficulties at work, unhealthy eating and an increasingly sedentary lifestyle suggests Fitbit. As health and fitness reach a low point, people begin taking blood-pressure and heart-related medications to manage their cardiac health, Fitbit hypothesized. These medicines may produce an observable drop in RHR as a bonus side effect.

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Target Heart Rate For Different Exercises

For an effective cardio workout, it is important to exercise at a certain level of intensity. Your target heart rate is a zone at which you can attain the level of exertion necessary for improving your cardiovascular fitness. Depending on your age, sex, level of fitness, the target heart rate zone will vary from 50 to 90 percent of your maximum heart rate. Here is the breakdown for understanding heart rate zones:

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Why Is This Blog About How Does Fitbit Measure Heart Rate Important

As we have discussed on How does Fitbit measure heart rate, measuring your heart rate can be beneficial and your Fitbit is equipped with an optical heart rate monitor, also known as photoplethysmography to measure heart rate. However, we need to consider some factors that could affect your heart rate and why it is necessary to take a deeper look into the measurements should a concern arise from them.;

Please feel free to leave any comments or thoughts about the content of this article!

Side Note: I have tried and tested various products and services to help with my anxiety and depression. See my top recommendations here, as well as a full list of all products and services our team has tested for various mental health conditions and general wellness.

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Heart Rate Tracking With Fitbits How It Works Resolving Issues

Buying a Fitbit smartwatch or fitness tracker with a built-in heart rate sensor is a wise investment. Such devices can let you know your resting heart rate, perhaps the best indicator of the state of your health and fitness. Lower values are commonly associated with better cardiovascular health and even longer longevity.

Heart rate-enabled devices also allow you to heart rate zone train. Most elete athletes take advantage of this. It is because heart rate zone training allows them to reach their top potential in the shortest amount of time possible. Its all about knowing hard hard you need to work your ticker during exercise for maximum effect.

Can Fitbit Diagnose A Problem

Fitbit Alta HR: How to Track Heart Rate

In my case, there was no problem with my heart rate. It was possibly an inaccurate reading, and my heart rate was at the maximum level for only a brief period of time.

Fitbit is very clear that it is not a medical device and should not be relied on as such. However, there have been several cases where a Fitbit has helped people identify a previously undiagnosed issue. These issues are often Atrial Fibrillation or an increased resting heart rate.

Here are a couple of examples:

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Fitbit Allows You To Set Custom Heart Rate Zones Do You Need Them

If you own a Fitbit Alta HR, Fitbit Charge 2, Fitbit Blaze, or Fitbit Surge and have entered your birthday into your profile, youve probably noticed a colorful bar graph pop up in your workout summaries. This chart tracks how much time you spent in each heart rate zoneranges that represent a percentage of your max heart rate and correspond to different exercise intensities.

For example, youre considered in your Fat Burn zone when your heart rate is between 50 and 69 percent of your max heart rate. Targeting specific heart rate zones can help you exercise more efficiently and hit your fitness goals fasterbut only if youre using the right ones.

How can you know whether youre exercising at the right intensities? You have to verify your max heart rate. Why? Well, that requires a brief math and science lesson. Dont worry, you wont be tested on this later.

Fitbit Accuracy For Heart Rate Tracking

Fitbit has four devices that track heart rate: the Fitbit Charge HR, the Fitbit Charge 2, the Fitbit Blaze, and the Fitbit Surge. These devices use PurePulse technology to measure your pulse. PurePulse is Fitbits version of optical heart rate monitoring, in which flashing lights located on the bottom of the device measure blood flow. In order to get the most accurate results, Fitbit recommends that users wear the device a few inches above the wrist.

Fitbits claims about heart rate accuracy also appear to have put them in legal trouble. Three plaintiffs filed a class action lawsuit that claims PurePulse is inaccurate. A study commissioned by the plaintiffs legal team concluded, Fitbit PurePulse trackers do not provide a valid measure of the users heart rate and cannot be used to provide a meaningful estimate of a users heart rate. They found that the Charge HR was off by an average of 15.5 bpm, and the Surge was off by an average of 22.8 bpm.

Fitbit stands by its PurePulse Technology. Additionally, a test by Consumer Reports contradicts the claims of the lawsuit. Researchers made a total of 64 heart rate measurements on two test subjects: one male and one female. The researchers compared the results against the Polar H7 ECG, a chest strap heart rate monitor.

Their tests found that the Fitbit Charge HR and the Fitbit Surge were highly accurate. The largest difference between them and the chest strap amounted to no more than three heartbeats per minute.

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A Heart Rate Monitor Is A Powerful Health Tool

It gives you and your health care team information on how your body responds throughout the day.

Your heart rate isnt just your pulse. It also shows you information about your lung function, heart, blood, and artery function AND showcases how your muscles consume oxygen.

For folks with heart issues, monitoring their heart rate is critical, especially when engaging in rigorous activities or stressful situations.

Fitbit Accuracy For Calories Burned

Heart rate readings too high in Fitbit Versa

Counting steps is one thing, but how does your Fitbit measure a far more difficult-to-track metric: the number of calories you burn in a day?

Fitbit estimates calories burned by first calculating your basal metabolic rate . This is the rate at which you naturally burn calories while youre perfectly sedentary, whether or not you exercise. Your BMR is based on your gender, age, height, and weight.

Then Fitbit adds the number of number of calories you burned based on the steps you took through the day, plus any exercise you logged using the Fitbit app.

The study that examined step tracking accuracy also looked at estimated calorie burn. Researchers found that the fitness trackers predicted energy expenditure within 8% while the research subjects were sedentary but the trackers accuracy degraded when people started moving. They overestimated energy expenditure by 16-40% while people were walking around. While people were doing regular household activities, they underestimated by 27-34%. Interestingly, the Fitbit Flex performed much better during household activity, getting it right within 8%.

Another study in 2015, called Validation of the Fitbit Wireless Activity Tracker for Prediction of Energy Expenditure,examined Fitbits calorie-burning accuracy. The researchers rounded up 20 participants, 10 male and 10 female. They had them go through several different physical activities, including raking, walking up stairs, golfing, and carrying groceries.

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