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Fitness watches are very popular these days that almost everyone I know has one. Not only do they track your heart rate and fitness levels but you also can track the heart rate variability (HRV). Your HRV score can tell where your health stands, especially your fitness levels. Knowing what this number can do for you, I did a thorough market, price, functionality research on the best HRV monitor watch on Amazon right now.
Because the term HRV is not too familiar to many, we will explain what is it, how it can help you get the body of your dreams, and why this number is important to your overall health.
So how can HRV monitor watches help not only transform your life but also take your workout to the next level? Keep in mind that a maximized fitness routine means effectiveness. This post will help you not only choose the right one for your needs but also how to improve the HRV level to help you make positive changes in your lifestyle.
Table of Contents
- 1 What is heart rate variability (HRV)?
- 2 The advantages of having a watch with an HRV monitor
- 3 How to measure heart rate variability at home?
- 4 How do wearable HRV monitors work?
- 5 Find your best HRV watch on Amazon right now – Editor’s Choice
- 6 HRV monitor watch alternatives that can help stick to your plan
- 7 How to improve your heart rate variability
- 8 What do I think of HRV monitor watches?
What is heart rate variability (HRV)?
This is one of the most important measures of your heart health, although it is rarely mentioned. It measures specific changes between successive heartbeats. Furthermore, it is the most precise measurement of the autonomic nervous system activity which regulates bodily functions such as heart rate, digestion, breathing, etc. That’s what makes the HRV unique.
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You cannot compare yours with someone else’s. Your heart rate changes between physical activities and your emotions. The difference between these fluctuations reflects your heart rate variability.
A high HRV means your heart rate can change efficiently depending on your physical activity. However, stress, inflammation, cardiovascular problems, and diabetes is associated with a lower one. HRV wearables will track the effects of stress in your body for around 2-3 minutes. An HRV level is a unique number based on your lifestyle, sleep pattern, age, fitness level, etc.
The advantages of having a watch with an HRV monitor
- You can measure how well your body deals with stress using a more precise heart rate data
- HR variability wearables can determine the efficiency of your cardiovascular system as well
- An HRV watch can help you to detect and prevent heart problems, diabetes, etc.
- You can share the collected data with your doctor
- Also, it detects your body’s readiness to train and tells you how hard to work out.
- It makes you aware of your fitness level and recovery status
- They also monitor your heart rate during your sleep to calculate the HRV
- Also, you can use the collected data to modify your lifestyle and fitness plan
- Many of these heart rate variability watches can detect any activity, including swimming
- Since your HRV is unique you can get a more personalized insight into how healthy you are and where you can improve
How to measure heart rate variability at home?
It can be measured using an electrocardiogram (ECG) in a doctor’s office. It measures the variation in R-R intervals of a heartbeat. The data obtained is very accurate.
However, you can monitor your HRV at home so you can get a clear picture of your overall health with a smart band that measures heart rate variability.
How do wearable HRV monitors work?
It depends on the fitness watch that you are using. They track your heart rate using heart rate sensors, optical heart monitors, or infrared light. Many of these wearables that measure HRV will show your stress or HRV score based on the data collected such as heart rate, sleep quality, breathing, fatigue levels, etc. Many of them have an ECG integrated into the phone for a more accurate analysis.
A couple of years ago you had to use chest straps. However, a PPG or Photoplethysmography is now used. This technology is a heart rate sensor that uses a green LED light to detect the amount of blood flowing and measures changes in light absorption which increases when your heartbeats. and it decreases between beats. It can monitor heart rate while exercising, breathing, and HR variability.
Find your best HRV watch on Amazon right now – Editor’s Choice
There are a few fitness trackers that track HRV on the market. Although they are not 100% accurate you can get a clear picture of your heart health. A watch that can measure your heart rate variability is a great investment that could give you insight into your general health and prevent any illnesses. The following list that we put together is based on market analysis and reviews:
Garmin Vivosmart 4
Do you want to improve your breathing while monitoring your HRV and stress levels? How about oxygen levels? The Garmin Vivosmart 4, not only tracks your heart rate variability but also can access your VO2 max estimate (first Garmin’s activity tracker to calculate your body’s ability to consume oxygen) and your fitness age which let you get a better idea of your fitness level.
Also, it will help you decrease your fitness age as you exercise and train harder. What I like about the Vivosmart is that it is stylish and discrete.
If you are looking for the best wearable HRV monitor to max out your fitness plan, the Garmin Vivosmart 4 is the way to go.
Pard Fitness Watch
You may not know the brand but the Pard fitness tracker can measure your HRV. It monitors your heart beats every 10 minutes to evaluate your heart health from 12:00 AM through 7:00 AM. All-day (monitor every 30 minutes) and Real-time sports Heart Rate Monitor; vibrate when your heart rate reaches the Maximum value you set.
It also helps you determine if you are breathing normally while sleeping to prevent or even manage your sleep apnea. It measures steps, distance, calories.
When it comes to accuracy, the Scosche RHYTHM+ is amazing with a patented optical sensor technology without the uncomfortable chest straps. Although most of the heart rate monitors use green only sensors, the RHYTHM+ also uses a yellow light sensor for superior accuracy. Read more about this accurate hrv monitor on Amazon.
Although it is not waterproof like the Rhythm24, the RHYTHM+ seems to be a favorite among consumers. Also, it tracks calories burned, intensity level, pace, and distance.
If you are looking for the best hrv monitor for your needs you can consider this popular watch.
HRV monitor watch alternatives that can help stick to your plan
If you don’t want to wear a heart rate variability watch or you perform any sports or activity where a wrist fitness tracker would be difficult to use a great alternative would be to wear a chest strap to track your heart rate variability. The following heart rate monitor with chest straps will deliver a great workout experience and much more.
If you prefer using a chest strap that will deliver great, smart, and effective coaching, the Polar H7 is the answer. It is accurate and uses your heart rate to track HRV (with Elite HRV, Sweet beat HRV and HRV4 apps works fine) and allows you to train at the right intensity.
It will help you determine whether you are under or overtraining. Just connect the Polar H7 with Polar Beat, Polar’s free fitness app, and track your progress from your phone.
The Polar H7 has over 100 sports profiles to choose from and get real-time voice guidance. GPS is not integrated but you can get the app so you can track your distance or map your route. It also analyses the effects of your training.
You can either get an in-depth analysis or a quick overview. You share your progress with your family, friends, or your doctor.
Check out this top-rated hrv monitor watch on Amazon.
If accuracy, connectivity, and adaptability are very essential to you, the Polar H10 chest strap is a great contender. It works with Polar trackers and watches. Unlike the Polar H7, it is waterproof (tracks HR even in water) and you can set goals.
Also, it is compatible with GoPro, you can overlay your heart rate data onto the recorded video. It comes with the Polar Pro strap, a soft strap with improved electrodes for improved accuracy and without interference.
Just connect the Polar H10 with Polar Beat, Polar’s free fitness app, and track your progress from your phone. According to the manufacturer, the HRV information is used in the OwnIndex, Ownzone, OwnOptimizer, OwnRelax, and EnergyPointer features. It can also be monitored on its own using the training computer. It also works well with the Elite HRV app.
Find out about this hrv monitor with strap on Amazon.
How to improve your heart rate variability
You learned how important the HRV score is to overall health. Now let’s increase it so your body and mind can thank you!
Making important changes in your lifestyle will help your HR variability remain normal or improve it which means better quality of life. Besides an HRV monitor watch, what else do you need to do to get an HRV score?
- Engage in physical activity
According to a study published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), “exercise has been shown to increase HRV in healthy individuals (50-52)”. In addition to doing house chores, regular exercise, practicing your favorite sports, or just walking can make a big difference in your overall health.
- Find moments of peace and tranquility
HRV and stress levels are related. When you are relaxed the heart rate variability will increase. Another scientific research published by the NCBI shows that “the degree of variability in the HR provides information about the functioning of nervous control on the HR and the heart’s ability to respond.” Getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep will relax the nervous system which will help you focus and start your day well-rested. Keep in mind that HRV is related not only to physical well-being but also to how your mind responds.
- Eat your veggies and fruits
Believe it or not, heart rate variability is affected by our lifestyle especially what we eat. Health conditions such as diabetes and obesity led to an increase in HRV levels. Cutting junk and processed foods will make a huge difference. If you have a health condition or need guidance, speak to your doctor or nutritional specialist about how you can make changes in your diet.
What do I think of HRV monitor watches?
Using a watch to monitor your HR variability during your work out or any other activity can make you more aware of your body. This is a healthy and smart approach that will transform your life and improve your heart health. However, they cannot do the job alone or replace your doctor or cardiologist.
Sharing your health data with your doctor will help identify any symptoms or illness. A heart rate variability monitor is a great tool that you can use between medical appointments to monitor your heart health so you can learn when to workout, the frequency, and the intensity. Remember that no two individuals’ HRV scores are the same.
A low HRV does not always mean it is bad and a high HRV does not always mean it is great. Readings can be affected by many factors such as: how long it takes you to recover, illnesses, body position, time of the day, etc. That’s why it is so important to discuss any readings with your doctor to help clarify any doubts.
I think that soon HRV fitness trackers will be launched with more functional features and accurate readings. The wearable heart health technology is getting much innovative and doing great in understanding the consumer’s needs.
We hope that our article “Best HRV monitor watch: Maximize your fitness routine now” can help you take your workout to the next level to help you achieve great overall health.
C. C. Appow is a webmaster, content creator, and blogger who loves fitness watches and working out.
After many attempts to stick to a fitness plan, she found inspiration in fitness wearables which has helped her remain active and lead a healthy lifestyle. She is committed to encouraging individuals who need help with their motivation.
When she isn’t researching fitness technology market trends and writing, you might find her cooking delicious meals, connecting with nature, growing veggies, and reading about technology.
Check out his other blog Breathe Out Panic Attack.