It gives you precise results when measuring your heart rate on your wrist.

An important function of heart rate variability monitor is now increasing trend worldwide. Fitness trackers is the optical heart rate measurement directly on the wrist. While many health-conscious people now prefer this method in sport and in everyday life, others criticize that the pulse measurement on the wrist is imprecise. It doesn’t have to be due to the measurement method or the quality of your fitness tracker if it delivers unrealistic heart rate results or if the measurement is interrupted. We’ll tell you which external factors can affect the optical heart rate variability monitor and which tips you can use to get accurate measurement results.

The advantages of training with heart rate variability mobile app

Heart rate is a reliable indicator of physical strain during exertion. Depending on which training goal you are aiming for, a certain heart rate is required. For instance, if you need to enhance your performance, you need more effort than if you want to improve your endurance.

If you have your heart rate recorded while exercising using heart rate variability mobile app, you can evaluate your physical exertion and adapt your workout to the heart rate zone at any time. In this way you work effectively towards your training goal and avoid under or overexertion; heart rate variability app really helps.

The ophthalmic “on the wrist” heart rate measurement is for comfortable alternative to the chest strap. The chest strap is considered to be the most precise variant of heart rate measurement; after all it measures the heartbeat almost directly on the heart. However, many find it uncomfortable because it can constrict and rub the skin. With a fitness bracelet, the heart rate can also be recorded not only during sport, but also during any kind of daily movement, as it is worn like a wristwatch and is very compatible with everyday life (with a chest strap, very few would walk around all day).

This is how optical heart rate measurement works

When you exercise, your blood vessels expand because the heart works harder and more oxygen-rich blood is transported from the heart to the body, apple watch HRV is the best HRV monitor yet on the market. However, the changed blood volume is used by the optical heart rate variability monitor: There is an optical sensor and at least 2 LED lamps on the back of the housing of your fitness tracker. The LED light shines through your blood vessels on your wrist and is either reflected or absorbed, depending on the blood volume. Using the reflected light, the sensor detects changes in blood volume and uses this to determine the heartbeat per minute.

These factors can influence the measurement accuracy

If you have the feeling that the heart rate checker is somehow not working or it is not being recorded consistently, it may be due to one of these factors:

  • Bad fit of the sports watch on the wrist
  • A dirty sensor
  • Tattoos
  • Strong arm hair
  • A very dark skin
  • Cold or heat
  • Lots of quick arm movements

Tips for the most accurate heart rate measurement on the wrist

The correct carrying position

A poor fit of the fitness bracelet is one of the most common reasons for heart rate errors. A little further above the wrist, the pulse is stronger. It can therefore help if you do not wear your fitness tracker at the bottom of your wrist, but rather push it up a little. You can improve the signal 2-3 finger widths above your wrist bone.

The right hold

The tracker should not be too tight or too loose: If it is too tight, it can impede blood circulation to the wrist. On the contrary, if it’s loose, the LED light cannot illuminate the blood flow deep enough or the sensor cannot correctly detect the reflective light. The right setting has been found when the bracelet is tight overall, but not too tight. After training, you can move the bracelet one step further.

The intensity of the movement

Your activity tracker has pre-installed certain sport profiles: Fitness trackers with heart rate measurement are usually designed for endurance sports with continuous, even movement, e.g. jogging or walking. Sports watches, on the other hand, can also be worn for more movement-intensive workouts such as swimming or weight training. However, during exercises in which you move your arms a lot and quickly, the sensor can lose contact with the skin. If your heart rate variability monitor stops giving a signal, keep your wrist still for ten seconds in the short breaks between exercises. This gives the sensor time to catch up on the measured value.

Plan a short start-up time

Some models require a short start-up time, especially for high-movement sports, until the sensor measures the heart rate precisely. If your fitness tracker is not already continuously measuring your heart rate, you should start the heart rate measurement during the warm-up so that the heart rate monitor is ready for your actual workout.

Proper care

After your workout, take the fitness tracker off your wrist and dry it, especially around the sensor.

Conclusion: This is how precise the optical heart rate measurement is

Pulse measurement on the wrist now provides very good guidelines for assessing one’s own physical exertion. Fitness trackers with heart rate measurement like the Fitbit ALTA HR usually work with two LEDs. In everyday life and in light endurance sports with consistently slower movements, the measurement results are pretty accurate and deviations are within a very small range. If you want to record your pulse even during more intensive workouts, you will get reliable results with the best HRV monitor. Heart rate monitors have four LEDs and better sensors on the underside of the housing. The manufacturer Polar even puts one (or rather two) on top: The M600 is equipped with six diodes and thus offers very precise pulse measurement.

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