How to measure Heart Rate Variability (HRV) on Apple Watch

How to measure Heart Rate Variability (HRV) on your Apple Watch

Things to know before measuring HRV on your Apple Watch in watchOS 9:

  • HRV is supported by Apple Watch Series 4 and later
  • The user must be 18 years and older

Measuring your Heart Rate Variability using the Apple Watch can provide crucial insights concerning your heart rate and well-being. HRV is an important indicator of your autonomic nervous system (ANS) – the part of your nervous system that controls functions like breathing, heart rate, and digestion.

By tracking this critical metric, it is possible to detect changes in your body’s stress levels and diagnose changes in health or energy. In this guide, I’ll give insights on tracking your HRV levels from Apple Watch.

Why is Heart Rate Variability important?

Heart Rate Variability (HRV) is a term used to describe the variation in time between each heartbeat. The measurement of HRV has become a popular way to track overall health and wellness, and the Apple Watch is one device that can help you do so.

HRV can also be used as a way to measure progress when it comes to exercise and physical fitness. Training with a heart rate monitor can help athletes track their progress and reach their goals. It can help inform decisions about the intensity and duration of exercise, as well as help identify signs of fatigue and overtraining.

It can also detect changes in the body’s response to stress and physical strain, leading to more accurate diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions.

Overall, HRV is a valuable tool for assessing overall health and fitness, detecting changes in response to stress, and monitoring progress in physical fitness.

How to monitor your heart rate variability on Apple Watch

  1. Before you start the breathing exercise, make yourself comfortable and relax thoroughly.
  2. Access the Mindfulness app from your Apple Watch.
  3. Select Breathe option from the feature menu.
    Tap Continue if you’re using the app for the first time.
  4. Follow instructions as displayed. You will see options to inhale and exhale.
  5. The graphics on your watch will Expand and Shrink, rectifying the breathing you have to follow.

    Tap Breathe and follow instructions on Apple Watch
  6. The session will complete once the watch vibrates twice and chimes.
    You might see a Well Done message.
  7. The following interface will reveal your heart rate in Beats Per Minute (BPM) correspondingly.
  8. If you want to stop the session for any unavoidable reason, just swipe right and tap End.

    Check Heart Rate Variability on Apple Watch

The timer for this exercise will be set for 1 minute by default. However, you can change it by tapping the three dots icon opposite the breathe logo→ DurationSet your timer accordingly.

Change exercise timer on Apple Watch

Note: All the notifications will be muted on your Apple Watch once the session starts to help you concentrate. If you go out of your way to receive incoming calls or make sudden movements, your session will automatically end, and you’ll have to start the process again.

How to view HRV readings on iPhone

If you want a detailed representation of your heartbeat reading, you can get it from your iPhone by adhering to a few simple steps:

  1. Open the Health app on your iPhone.
  2. Tap the Browse option located on the bottom-right corner of the screen.
  3. Select the Heart option under Health Categories.
  4. To view a graphical representation of the same, tap any metric you yearn for.
    For now, we will focus on Heart Rate Variability.
  5. Now, you can view detailed infographics of your heart status. The readings are categorized into Days, Weeks, Months, 6 months, and years.
  6. To study a particular session, scroll down and tap Show all data under the Options menu.

    Check Heart Rate Variability on iPhone
  7. Now, you can access any session of your choice from All Recorded Data. Every session is further classified in data sorted by time.

    Access any session of your choice from All Recorded Data on iPhone

Following these steps, you can easily record and manage multiple heart readings at the same time without having to worry about losing data from any spontaneous session.

Factors that affect HRV measurement accuracy

The relationship between heart rate and respiration is the measurement of heart rate variability authorized to provide valuable insight into many health aspects. However, several factors can affect the accuracy of HRV measurements:

  • To ensure accurate readings, it’s best to perform the measurement in a quiet, comfortable room with minimal external noise and an ideal temperature.
  • Any movements such as eating, drinking, or smoking before or during the measurement can also affect the accuracy of the HRV measurement.
  • It’s best to measure HRV with a continuous recording over several minutes. This will give a better average and provide a more accurate picture of the overall HRV.
  • People with naturally faster or slower resting heart rates or those with pacemakers, advanced age, or a history of cardiac disease may all be prompted by a varied HRV reading.

A good HRV is important because it goes hand-in-hand with better overall health. It can be used to measure stress levels and can help with exercise recovery and performance. On the contrary, a low HRV has been associated with an elevated risk of heart disease and other health problems. 


How to turn on the heart rate monitor on Apple Watch? 

To enable heart rate measurements in Apple Watch, open the Settings app on your watch, and select Privacy→ Heart Rate. Make sure that Heart Rate is turned on.

Does Apple Watch accurately measure HRV?

Yes, the apple watch is capable of accurately measuring HRV using its built-in heart rate sensors and various health monitoring features like zone tracking. Nonetheless, it’s important to note that Apple Watch is not medical equipment and should not be relied on for high-end diagnoses or treatment. Any concerns should be discussed with a medical professional.

It’s that simple!!! 

The Apple Watch’s built-in heart rate monitor and the health app on iPhone make it very easy for you to keep account of your heart readings. It is important to remember to take frequent readings and to consult a doctor if you are concerned about your heart health.

With regular monitoring of your HRV, you can make sure that your body is functioning at its optimal level. Follow our guide for more such Apple Watch tips and tricks.

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