How do I get heart rate recovery readings?

Heart rate recovery (HRR) measures how much your heart rate drops after exercise. HRR is often used to measure cardiovascular fitness. Improving HRR through exercise has been clinically shown to prolong life (NEJM study).

You can view your 1-minute and 2-minute heart rate recovery on your workouts in Cardiogram. A larger drop in heart rate is better, but you need to be sure you are measuring HRR under the right conditions.

How do I get HRR readings?

HRR one minute and two minutes after your workouts will be shown on the timeline pane. To get accurate HRR readings, be sure to follow these steps:

  1. Turn on workout mode on your wearable. Please visit this article for more information.
  2. Towards the end of your workout, get your heart rate at least 70% of your max heart rate. Note: your max heart rate can be estimated by subtracting your age from 220. For example, if you're 55 years old, your estimated max heart rate is 165.
  3. End your workouts as soon as you stop exercising. 
  4. Keep your wearable on and rest for 2 minutes after you end your workout. Avoid things that would elevate your heart rate, like walking or lifting things.

Some devices will increase the heart rate sensor frequency during a workout, but return back to a less frequent reading (e.g. every 5 minutes) after the workout has ended.

Device

Currently, HRR only works reliably for Apple Watch and Fitbit devices. This is because these devices measure your heart rate at a high frequency (at least every 5 seconds) by default or for the period after you end your workout.

What's a normal HRR?

What's considered "normal" varies depending on the clinical study. However, many studies use a drop of 12bpm as a benchmark for a "normal" one-minute HRR. Note: these studies ensured that the participants reached "peak" exercise, so you should be sure your heart rate was at least 70% of your max when you ended your workout.

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