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Stress is part of our lives. There is no way you can run from it. Therefore, we try many ways to relax with exercise, walking, medications, socializing, among others. Many relaxation techniques work will work better for you than others. I have tried many effective ways to chill and lower stress levels. However, I found out that the breathing timer feature on my fitness watch can help me calm down and breathe slowly.
Many fitness watches have guided breathing that also includes a stress tracker to help you monitor your levels. Depending on the fitness tracker you might receive other words reminding your way to practice your breathing using your heart rate data.
A great thing about this feature is that you can use it at any time as needed. I love to use it before going to sleep to ensure a good rest. However, you can use it during your yoga session, even in the park or anywhere.
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The guided breathing sessions can be used in your workplace when you are stressed out or when you feel anxious. It is a great tool to help you manage your stress levels before they go too high. Besides, it will help you prevent any stress-related health conditions such as high blood pressure, insomnia, low immune system, headaches, and panic attacks.
Wearing a smartwatch or activity tracker with a breathing timer is very convenient for those who are busy or concerned about the effects of stress on their health. Also, you can use the guided breathing feature after your workout or at the end of a busy day.
Fitness wearables companies such as Fitbit, Garmin, and Apple have focused not only on fitness but also on wellness as they have launched some of their devices with stress tracking features.
What is stress and why you should monitor it regularly?
Stress is a state of mental, physical or emotional tension due to any demanding situation or pressures.
Good or bad, our experiences can cause mental and physical reactions that can be negative or positive. A life situation such as a trip or the death of a relative will cause you to feel nervous or stressed out. So, depending on the event we might find it easy to control stress while in others it might seem harder to calm down.
Besides, certain situations might cause a higher stress level than others. For example, being a victim of crimes can make us more stressed than attending a wedding. Also, tension can affect us short or long-term. Chronic tension may affect us physically and mentally.
According to the American Institute of Stress (AIS), There are 50 common symptoms of stress from which includes neck ache, palpitations, anxiety, constant tiredness, among others.
If you suffer from tension or work in a hectic environment, it is crucial to monitor your stress levels and practice breathing exercises. Also, exercising, eating healthy, and going out might help you cope with the stress.
It is very important that managing your stress becomes an essential part of your life. How you manage your stress will say a lot about your quality of life and how it will affect or benefit your health!
Nowadays, fitness wearables are focused on stress management which features a breathing timer to help reduce your stress levels, correct your breathing, and other benefits that we will discuss later. Many wearables use your heart rate to create personalized breathing sessions and even will tell you when you need to take a rest from your workout.
How high-stress levels affect your breathing
Breathing should be effortless and easy. When we are under stress we tend to breathe with our chest. This incorrect way of breathing is the cause of many health problems such as palpitations, anxiety, low oxygen levels, among others.
Shallow breathing also can cause pneumonia, asthma, and anxiety. When you feel stressed out check your breathing. If you are inhaling and exhaling using your chest you will need to correct this bad habit to avoid any stress-related health conditions.
Sometimes controlling our breath may be a challenge when we are nervous. Place your hand on your belly and inhale deeply counting to 4. Focus on the movement of your hand. Then hold it counting to 6. Then exhale deeply count to 4. Repeat as much as you need. Do not force your breathing.
Using a fitness watch with a personalized guided breathing session feature can help to manage your tension even on a tight schedule. This feature is straightforward to use, and in some cases, you can choose the duration of the session. Now, we will talk about what the breathing timer is all about and its functionalities.
How does the breathing timer feature works
Fitbit created guided breathing. Apple uses the Breathe app. Garmin featured the Relax timer.
A fitness tracker with this feature uses heart rate data to calculate your breathing rate to create personalized guided sessions. Besides, smart fitness like Garmin not only will help you breathe deeply but also monitors your stress levels. Besides, some fitness watches like Apple Watch allow you to customize your breathing settings.
Nowadays, fitness wearables, not only help improve your physical condition but also your mental health. Many users can improve their stress response right on the wrist. It’s a great way to stay relaxed and to chill before anxiety symptoms kick in.
We will explain in detail how does the breathing timer feature works on Fitbit, Apple, and Garmin fitness trackers. This will help you get familiar with this useful tool which would also motivate you to take care of yourself.
Also, some advanced trackers will use your heart rate variability to give you feedback on your performance.
Apple’s Focus on your breathing
The Breathe app motivates you to relax and improve your breathing on your Apple Watch. It is a guided breathing session and reminds you to take time to breathe. Besides, it is customizable as you can change the length and frequency of the session. Also, you can mute alerts and change your breath rate.
Also, you can see your heart rate during sessions and add a Breathe app watch face to get quick access to the sessions. Although you need to need to download the application it will help you relax even on the busiest days.
How to use the Breath app to improve your breathing
You need to have Apple watch to use the Breathe application to relax and focus on your breathing
- Make sure your Apple Watch is charged
- Use your Apple watch to open the Breathe application
- use the Digital Crown to set the duration off the guided breathing session. Choose between 1 and 5 minutes
- to use the same duration open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone, tap My Watch. Then tap Breathe and choose the “Previous Duration” feature.
How to easily adjust settings
Open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone. Tap My Watch and tap Breathe.
- Tap Breathe Reminders to set reminders
- Turn on “Mute for Today” to mute reminders
- Tap Breathe Rate to change the number of breaths per minute
Garmin’s relaxation-based breathing timer feature
Garmin’s Vivosmart 3, Vivosmart 4, and Vivosport feature the relax timer will help you reduce your stress levels by practicing your breathing for 1 to 5 minutes based on the Fourfold breathing technique.
You can use this feature with all-day stress monitoring. It can be used when you see a high-stress level score, need to relax, or anytime.
How to use the Relax Timer to reduce levels
- Access the relax timer from your Vivosmart 3, Vivosmart 4, and Vivosport
- Make sure your watch is charged
- On the face watch swipe to that stress widget
- Tap the display
- Swipe to the relax timer and touch it
- Select 1 minute to 5 minutes duration
- Tap two times to start
- Follow the instructions on the screen
For the Vivosmart 4: Once you Touch the relax Timer you will follow the instructions
Fitbit’s Relax guided breathing experience
The Relax feature is only available on Versa Series, Charge 4, Versa Sense, and Inspire 2. It features personalized guided breathing sessions using your heart rate.
Besides, it calculates a breathing rate for you using your heart rate to measure your heart rate variability (HRV). Besides, you have the option to choose 2 minutes or 5 minutes sessions.
How to use Relax to help you calm down
- Open the Relax widget on your tracker
- Make sure that your fitness tracker has a good battery charge
- Tap the bottom of the display to choose the duration of the session. Choose either 2 or 5 minutes.
- Press and hold the button until it vibrates
- Then your session will begin.
- First, breathe slowly and deeply. Your Fitbit will sense your breathing and you will see a wave that moves as you breathe based on your heart rate to calculate your personalized breathing rate.
- Thereafter, you will feel a slight vibration.
- Then follow the circle as it guides you to inhale and exhale.
- The better you do it the more small sparkles you will on the screen.
How can guided breathing help lower your stress levels
The reality is that controlling your breathing is hard when we are stressed out. It is not strange that you would feel like you forgot to breathe. At least this is what I experienced when I had a panic attack several years ago. I was feeling so much tension that it was almost impossible to focus on my breathing.
For those who encounter the same experience, wearing a fitness watch with a breathing timer feature will help you not only focus on your breathing but also manage your stress during the most hectic moments. Whether you are at your desk or home, you can use it when you feel anxious or are experiencing a stressful event.
When you breathe deeply your stress levels will go down and feel better. The more you practice your breathing the sooner you will feel better and refreshed. Keep in mind that our breathing tends to be heavy, shallow, and faster when there is tension. Therefore is very important to keep doing breathing exercises and make it a habit.
The breathing timer feature may use either stress levels, real-time heart rate, or even heart rate variability data to create a personalized guided breathing session.
Can the breathing timer help anxiety?
Anxiety can be relieved, not only with lifestyle changes, medication, and a healthy diet but also by improving your breathing. Also, it is a normal emotion.
However, when you feel a sense of intense fear that doesn’t go away then this is an anxiety disorder that is caused by an excess of stress due to work, tragic events or any stressful situation. Therefore, one of the effective ways to relieve anxiety is to control your breathing.
When we are anxious we tend to lose control of your breathing. So, you can help improve your breathing by using a fitness tracker with a breathing timer feature to help you calm down.
It’s really important to keep practicing your breathing to successfully manage and relieve your anxiety symptoms. Besides, remember to go to a relaxing area such as a room or garden to maximize your benefits.
Using a breathing timer is a simple way to learn how to breathe correctly to prevent and manage anxiety. When you feel nervous, it is essential to start deep breathing exercises to calm down.
The more you do it the better you will be able to control your anxiety symptoms. Guided breathing is useful for those who want to improve their breathing and stress response.
Advantages of using a fitness tracker with breathing timer
What I like about using a breathing exercise timer is that I can focus on my breathing. Also, I can use it whenever I need it.
That’s why this is a very useful tool that will help you calm down whenever you feel anxious. Not only that. Using a breathing timer can also simplify and maximize your workout.
Here are 5 benefits of a breathing timer that will help you improve your physical and mental health:
- Many fitness trackers with guided breathing have an alert to remind you when it is time to chill
- It will help you focus on your breathing when relaxing
- More advanced fitness trackers with this feature also include a stress tracker to help you find any patterns in your activities
- You can prevent any stress-related disorders such as panic attacks, anxiety, headaches, palpitations, etc.
- Using a breathing timer will also help you exercise effectively while improving your fitness levels
How can guided breathing help to maximize your workout
Many trackers like the Garmin Forerunner 935 feature a stress tracker, not only to help us relax but also to help us adjust our workout. For example, health data can show how your heart works during your physical activity. Keep in mind that when we feel stressed out our bodies become less responsive to training.
The Forerunner 935, uses heart rate variability to determine whether you are ready to work out or might need a break. Besides, it uses heart rate data to monitor your progress and can tell if you are over or under-exercising. Also, it gives you additional feedback so that you can reach your fitness goals.
It is very important to practice your breathing so your body can use your oxygen effectively. This can help you improve your fitness levels and cardio performance.
In terms of fitness, this feature will help you understand the difference between quality and quantity. If you exercise too hard you will become stressed out and also can cause injuries.
Also, it will help you create a personalized and effective workout.
10 tips to relax without using a fitness tracker
Although a fitness tracker with a guided breathing feature is a great solution to relax, you can relieve your stress in many ways. After working and living in the city I can tell you one or two things about how to achieve the tranquility you are looking for.
You can relax without using Fitness wearables or any other electronics. I would like to share some effective tips that I have used to achieve a deep relaxation state and to manage very stressful situations.
Here are 10 ways to stay calm and in peace with yourself that will help improve your mental and physical health:
Listen to your body
if you have some tension in your neck, back, or any part of your body it means that you might be stressed out. Enjoy a hot bath or sip a chamomile tea. You will feel relaxed and your aches will be relieved.
Find another job if necessary.
If your workplace is causing you anxiety or high-stress levels, you might want to change jobs. Keep in mind that although work helps to pay our bills, our health is far more important. Changing jobs is easier than dealing with stress-related health conditions.
Run for the hills
If you live in the city you want to move to a quiet neighborhood or the countryside. You can find a home-based job so that you don’t have to commute. This will improve your quality of life and you will not regret it.
Stay away from toxic people.
Unfortunately, your family and friends circle may include people that make us feel stressed out. If you don’t look after yourself who will?
Do you know that exercising can dramatically lower your stress levels besides improving your overall health? Besides, you will feel better and your stress-related symptoms will be relieved. Not only that. Your breathing will be more calm and rhythmic.
Meditation is more than mindfulness or focuses on a thought, action or object to achieve a calm state. It can be a tool to not only improve relationships but also to reduce stress levels. You can either sit in your garden or do yoga while you meditate. I love to do it while I am hiking, gardening, or cooking. You can use a tracker with a breathing timer feature to help you focus on your breathing.
Explore different places
You do not have to have lots of money to travel. Changing your environment helps you improve your stress levels. Go around your area to enjoy tourist places. The bottom line is: to go out and have fun!
Connect with nature
If you love nature just like me then you know what I am talking about. Hiking is a great exercise for your body and your mind. Or simply sit down in front of a lake, river or the sea. Listen to nature. Also, look at the rain and enjoy the sound.
Do not sleep too late
Do you know that early bedtimes can help your body adjust better to a sleep routine? It will be easier for you to sleep and wake up at the same time. Otherwise, it will be harder to for your body to adjust.
Practice your breathing
You do not need any guided breathing sessions to improve your breathing although it is a great tool. Make sure you inhale deeply within your belly and exhale very slow and deep.
Here is how:
- You can either sit or lie down
- Place your hands on your belly
- Inhale very deeply to the belly. Feel it with your hand
- Hold it for 4 seconds
- Exhale slowly and hold it for another 4 seconds
You can find many breathing techniques here by visiting the American Institute of Stress.
Bonus tip: Control your emotions
This is one of the hardest things I have to learn for the sake of my mental and physical health. If you are very angry, count until 10 or go for a walk. Sometimes it is better to chill before sending a text or email that may be hurtful. A couple of seconds can make a difference!
3 fitness watches with breathing timer you want to consider
Although Fitbit, Apple, and Garmin, other companies have launched smart bracelets with featured guided breathing. Here are some fitness watches with this useful functionality.
If Stress management is a priority, this smart and fitness smartwatch, not only features built-in GPS, 20+ workout modes, Oxygen saturation levels but also tells you how your body is handling stress.
It uses the EDA (electrodermal activity) Scan app that you can access from your smartwatch. It monitors sweat levels which are controlled by the sympathetic nervous system. This metric can show any patterns about your body’s response to stress.
Once the app has scanned your stress levels for a short 2-minute period, you can use the guided meditation session from the Fitbit application.
Moreover, you practice your breathing as well from the Relax app. Choose the desired time and follow the instructions on the watch screen.
It allows you to log in to your reflection after the guided session. In addition, you see more details about your mindfulness practice history on the Mindfulness tile from the Fitbit app.
Discover other Fitbit Sense great features on Amazon.
This versatile and affordable fitness tracker features guided breathing sessions that you can choose for 1 or 2 minutes. Also, it features 8 sport modes, a continuous heart rate, and a touch screen. Letsfit has a 1.3-inch color touch screen for better data visibility and music control. It also reminds you to move and monitors your sleep quality.
Other features include smart notifications, waterproof, connected GPS, and more. battery life is 10 days and the standby time can be up to 40 days.
It uses VeryFitPro to monitor your progress. For more details check out this multisport fitness tracker with guided breathing on Amazon.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 3
This smartwatch will alert you when stress levels are high and will recommend you to breathe deeply. It can be monitored via the Samsung Health app and follow guided breathing sessions in Breathing measurement.
You can measure your blood pressure but you need to download the My BP Lab 2.0 app on your smartphone and watch first. It needs a one-time calibration before using it for the first time. It records your ECG through the Samsung Health monitor and data can be shared with your doctor.
Galaxy Watch 3 LTE version can make phone calls and text messages without having to use your phone. It features the Bixby voice to read your texts. make a call or say any command. Also, it is durable and passes a military certification for dust, extreme temperatures, and more.
It comes in two sizes, 2 finishes, and 3 colors. Besides you can choose between more than 50,000 watched faces and it is water-resistant.
Discover more about this advanced health smartwatch on Amazon.
It’s very important to keep your stress levels down to prevent any stress-related conditions. They include panic attacks, high blood pressure, weak immune system, among others.
Those who have a very tight schedule using a fitness watch that features a breathing timer can benefit greatly. What I like about this functionality is that it can be used anytime, anywhere.
However, the bottom line is that whether you wear a device or not it is important to monitor and manage your stress levels to prevent health problems. Adopting a healthy lifestyle can reduce your stress levels and help you stay healthy.
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