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Part 2 Blood pressure, pulse and HRV tracking

I am a novice in terms of using heart measurement for my fitness goals. Few years back had started to used pulse metering with cycle computer when riding MTB uphill, and watching pulse had made a big difference instead of chasing speed.

In my recent revitalisation I had swapped out the old band to a Polar H7 bluetooth one after checking that it will be useful outside of sport activities for sleep and HRV tracking as well. I have a basic knowledge of the heart rate zones to be used in sport and tried few apps on the iPhone 5S to record, using during exercises.

Withings devices connected

Withings devices connected

 

For Blood pressure measurement I had chosen Whitings due to the multiple trackers available from one brand integrated into one app. Currently I am using the Smart Body Analyser and the Blood Pressure Monitor. Both of them was easy to setup, however the scale occasionally unable to connect to Wifi what I need to debug 🙂 . In compensation I do like the air quality measurement with Co2 levels measured. Handy when used in bedroom, however not seeing whether this can be integrated with sleep data when same brand sleep tracker is used. Parts of the data updated to Health app, some resides in the source app as air quality…

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Blood pressure

Blood pressure

The Blood pressure meter has a single switch, when switching on opens and the app and brings up in measurement start mode for handy use.
There is a decent graph showing blood pressure and heart rate history. Selecting a data point in the graph gives the measured values and exact time of the measurement. There are few pictograms to be decoded there, guessed the small sun and moon means daytime or nighttime, but was confused a mid day measurement marked with moon… Additional ones will require reading the user manual, the app had not provided clue to figure it out.

 

 

 

 

Health app data sourced from Withings measurement

Health app data sourced from Withings measurement

Heart rate from both blood pressure and weight measurement passed to Health app, when multiple measurement made is shows the range of the pulse. Sure would be better if the app I am using for fitness tracking would be able to pass that a to the same consolidation app on the chosen platform / this case on IOS the health app. (I am curious how far Google Fit or Microsoft Health goes on this area of integration and data consolidation. Happy to have your feedback if you use that platform and can share experience)

 

 

 

 

Back to Pulse metering when I use the Polar H7, was a positive surprise to able to put down my phone as the TechnoGym running pad had been compatible and able to get the pulse data parallel with the phone, so could use its display for keeping eye on.

MapMyFittness

MapMyFittness

For GPS based tracking I had used MapMyFittness before, so that was a good choice to continue, however some features are only available in the paid premium version for heart rate zone based coaching and analysis. I like the app, can handle many tracker, apps, and on passing bare minimum workout time data to Health app. It has pretty long list of activities to be tracked, and bike speed, cadence meters for hardcore cyclists could be optimal. Recently with IOS 8.2 had crashed on me few times confusing me in the middle of the run while telling me the pulse rates at set interval to base my run based on the zone and dying int he middle.  I am not sure is it the app or IOS or both, but causing some occasional frustration roughly 1 times out of 30 use.

 

 

MapMyFittnes coaching settings

MapMyFittnes coaching settings

I like the different coaching as per pulse zone based, however this app does not offer for example an 5K training plan as Runtastic does.
Other than zones it can do time interval, pace, distance or duration or willpower coaching.

This app works well in an armband for running as require GPS signal to map for running, when put into pocket, than calculating funny distances. – For the first ride of the season, pretty out of shape I had and 296.9 km/h average speed uphill on my bike. Where to improve from here 🙂 . It was all thanked to confused GPS reading. – Otherwise for running I am switching off the screen to save battery works fine with some music from Spotify in the background, or from the app which can handle music if you have via iTunes.

 

 

Polar Beat app

Polar Beat app

Ouch, I almost forget / of course tried to Polar app as well, the free version has limited features, but in general works well, even in free version heart zone measurement and zone indication exist.

 

 

 

ithlete HRV measurement

ithlete HRV measurement

The best part what I had discovered while listening for some podcast on quantified self was Heart Rate Variability. This was with Simon Wegerif who had created the first HRV app ithlete.  I started to use it while moving my knowledge of HRV from zero point onwards. I make measurement of HRV during my morning routine (about it later as I am shaping to the next level) and adjust my workout based on the reading. The measurement takes a minute with focused breathing, and recording few parameters of the previous 24h.

Normally I see values dropping after a heavier workout, and going after after a recovery day. Less sleep due to early travel and a light flue for a day was also showing up in the measurement. as I am learning more about the topic, considering more in depth measurement, and deeper integration into the workout plans. Any recommendation on those I happily receive.

More on the Principles of training based on HRV from Simon

Read back Part 1 with my beginning with sleep tracking

Part 3 with other measurements and data elements coming soon

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