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The what and how of Polar's Continuous Heart Rate

Make sure to check below if you need to turn the Continuous Heart Rate tracking on manually on your Polar device before you can start to use the feature!

What is Continuous Heart Rate?

Continuous Heart Rate is a feature that complements the 24/7 Activity Tracking feature of Polar devices. Together they track all your daily physical activity automatically.

While the 24 /7 Activity Tracking feature records your wrist movements to track your activity, the Continuous Heart Rate feature tracks your heart rate around the clock. It enables more accurate measurement of daily calorie consumption and your overall activity because also physical activities with very little wrist movement, such as cycling, can now be tracked.

Watch this short introduction video on Polar’s Continuous heart rate tracking:

How does the Continuous Heart Rate tracking work?

Polar’s Continuous Heart Rate feature is based on timed measurements and on your wrist movements.

The timed measurement checks your heart rate at regular intervals, and if your heart rate is elevated during the check, the feature starts to continuously track your heart rate. Continuous tracking of your heart rate can also start based on your wrist movements, for example, when you’re walking with a fast enough pace with your arms swinging. The continuous tracking of your heart rate stops automatically when your activity level drops low enough.

When your Polar device detects that you’ve been sitting for a long time, your heart rate is tracked continuously in order to find the lowest heart rate reading of your day.

Why should I measure my heart rate continuously?

Different things can cause your heart rate to change. Mainly, your heart rate changes in response to the demands of your muscles during daily activities. For example, your heart has to pump harder when you’re cycling than when you’re sitting down because your heart delivers the oxygen and energy nutrients that your muscles need in order to provide more energy for your activities through your bloodstream.

Because the Continuous Heart Rate feature tracks all your daily activities, you can see what kind of health benefits your activity has, and you’ll get an accurate calculation of how many calories you’ve burned during the day. Heart rate measurements combined with activity information can help you learn what the most meaningful physical activity moments are during your day.

If your choice of physical activity includes minimal wrist movements, like when you’re pushing a baby stroller, carrying groceries or cycling, your overall activity will now be tracked better with the Continuous Heart Rate feature, and also this kind of activity will now add to your progress towards reaching your Activity Goal. The higher your measured heart rate, the higher the recorded activity level will be, therefore also physical effort can be taken into account, e.g. when walking uphill or carrying a heavy backpack.

Other reasons that cause changes in your heart rate can also be stress and emotions. For example, excitement can raise your heart rate. Your heart rate fluctuates also over the course of night. The changes in your heart rate during a typical night’s sleep partly reflect the changes in the depth of your sleep. With the Continuous Heart Rate tracking, you can keep tabs on how your heart rate varies during the day and between the nights.

What do I need to do to get reliable Continuous Heart Rate data?

In order for your Polar device to be able to give you reliable Continuous Heart Rate data, it is important that the physical settings in your Polar Flow account are up-to-date.

It’s especially important that you check and update your Resting heart rate value. Your resting heart rate is the lowest number of heart beats per minute (bpm) when fully relaxed and without distractions. Your age, fitness level, genetics, health status and sex affect the resting heart rate. A typical value for an adult is 55–75 bpm, but your resting heart rate can be significantly lower than that, for example, if you’re very fit.

It’s best to measure your resting heart rate in the morning after a good night’s sleep, right after you wake up. It’s OK to go to the bathroom first if it helps you to relax. Don’t do any strenuous training leading up to the measurement and make sure you’re fully recovered from any activity.

For accurate and easy measuring, use your Polar device with wrist-based heart rate measuring or your Polar heart rate monitor and the chest strap with a heart rate sensor. You should do the measurement more than once, preferably on consecutive mornings, and calculate your average resting heart rate.

To measure your resting heart rate:

  1. Wear your Polar device. Lie down on your back and relax.
  2. After about 1 minute, start a training session on your wearable.  Choose any sport profile, for example Other indoor.
  3. Lie still and breathe calmly for 3–5 minutes. Don’t look at your training data during the measuring.
  4. Stop the training session on your Polar device. Sync the wearable with the Polar Flow app or web service and check the training summary for the value of your lowest heart rate (HR min)—this is your resting heart rate. Update your resting heart rate to your physical settings in Polar Flow.

Notice that the lowest heart rate readings for the day and night that you get with your Polar device with Continuous Heart Rate tracking are NOT the same as your resting heart rate!

Continuous Heart Rate data in the Polar Flow mobile app

You can see your Continuous Heart Rate data on the go from the Polar Flow mobile app. The app syncs your Continuous Heart Rate data to the Flow web service, where you can analyze your data in more detail.

In the mobile app, you can see your Continuous Heart Rate data under Activity in daily, weekly and monthly views (see number 1 in the image below). In the DAY view, you can tap the icon on the right hand side to toggle between the activity clock view and a linear view showing your heart rate curve (2).

In both views, you can see your

(3) lowest heart rate of the day in a grey circle,

(4) highest heart rate of the day in a grey circle, and

(5) lowest heart rate during sleep in a blue circle.

In the linear view, you can also see purple bars at the bottom of the chart for the times when the Continuous Heart Rate feature detected high activity and recorded your heart rate continuously (6).

Tap the circles for more information. In the linear view, press and slide your finger on the chart to see more details.

 

In the WEEK and MONTH views, the three purple curves illustrate the variation in your heart rate values.

(1) The top curve displays the days’ highest heart rate values,

(2) the middle curve draws the line of your days’ lowest heart rate values, and

(3) the bottom curve illustrates your lowest heart rate values during sleep.

Press and slide your finger on the chart to see the numeric values for each day.

Continuous Heart Rate data in the Polar Flow web service

In the Polar Flow web service, you can see your daily Continuous Heart Rate data in the Activity view, under DIARY.

(1) Your Continuous Heart Rate curve draws as a purple line on the timeline. (The blue and white curve is your activity curve.)

(2) At the bottom of the timeline, you can see purple bars for the times when the Continuous Heart Rate feature detected high activity and recorded your heart rate continuously.

(3) Below the time, there are purple symbols for the day’s lowest and highest heart rate readings and for the lowest heart rate reading during sleep.

Hover your mouse over the timeline to see more details. Click the purple “Continuous heart rate” button above the chart to toggle between showing and not showing your Continuous Heart Rate data on the chart.

How does Continuous Heart Rate affect the battery consumption of my Polar device?

Polar’s Continuous Heart Rate feature tracks your heart rate in an intelligent, adaptable and optimized manner. Still, keeping the Continuous Heart Rate feature on in your Polar device will drain the battery quicker.

See your device specific instructions on how to turn the Continuous Heart Rate feature off if you want to try and save the battery life of your Polar device.

Continuous Heart Rate on A370

The Continuous Heart Rate feature is automatically on in your A370. You can toggle between turning the feature on and off on your A370 under Settings by tapping the icon.

Under My day you’ll be able to follow what will be the highest and lowest heart rate readings of your day and you can check what your lowest heart rate reading was during the previous night.

Continuous Heart Rate on M430

You can turn the Continuous Heart Rate feature on and off on your M430 in Settings > General settings > Continuous HR tracking.

Under My day you’ll be able to follow what will be the highest and lowest heart rate readings of your day and you can check what your lowest heart rate reading was during the previous night.

You need firmware version 1.1.4 or newer on your Polar M430 to have this feature. Download the latest firmware onto M430 via FlowSync by connecting it to your computer with the cable or with your mobile via Flow app.

Continuous Heart Rate on Vantage M/Vantage V

You can turn the Continuous Heart Rate feature on and off on your Vantage M or Vantage V in Settings > General settings > Continuous HR tracking.

In time view, use the UP and DOWN buttons to navigate to the Heart Rate watch face. You can see your current heart rate right on the watch face. Press OK to see what the highest and lowest heart rate readings of your day are, and what your lowest heart rate reading was during the previous night.

Continuous Heart Rate on Ignite

You can turn the Continuous Heart Rate feature on, off or to night-time only mode on your Ignite in Settings > General settings > Continuous HR tracking.

In time view, swipe left or right to navigate to the Heart Rate watch face. You can see your current heart rate right on the watch face. Tap the display to see what the highest and lowest heart rate readings of your day are, and what your lowest heart rate reading was during the previous night.

Polar products with Continuous Heart Rate tracking are meant to be worn 24/7. To keep your device and your skin in good condition follow our easy wear and care instructions from here.

 

You can read more about the Continuous Heart Rate from the Polar Blog.

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