Why does my activity accumulate differently with my new Polar device with Continuous Heart Rate feature compared to my older Polar device?
The Continuous Heart Rate feature complements the 24/7 Activity Tracking feature of Polar devices. While the 24 /7 Activity Tracking feature records your wrist movements to track your activity, the Continuous Heart Rate feature also tracks your heart rate around the clock in order to give you an even more precise calculation of your calorie consumption than before. In other words, the new Continuous Heart Rate tracking feature allows for a more personal measuring of your overall activity because it takes into account your body’s response to the intensity of physical activity, that is, how much your heart rate rises when you’re physically active.
If you’ve used a Polar device with 24/7 Activity Tracking feature before, you might experience that with a Polar device with the Continuous Heart Rate tracking feature it’s either easier or more difficult to reach your daily Activity goal than before. Here you can find some reasons why:
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. Because the feature records your raised heart rate, 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. In your older Polar device, for this type of activity to accumulate activity you had to start a training session recording your heart rate.
We want to encourage you to lead an active life, and we want to be able to give you reliable feedback on your activity. In order for your Polar device to be able to give you reliable and personalized information on your progress towards reaching your activity goal, it is important that the personal settings in your Flow account are truthful and up-to-date.
Updating your personal settings in the Flow web service
If you feel that it’s too easy for you to reach your activity goal, you can change the activity level. The activity goal is based on your personal data and activity level setting, which you can find in the Activity goal settings in both Polar Flow web service (your name/profile photo > settings > Daily activity goal) and mobile app (your name/profile photo > Activity goal). You can choose from three activity levels the one that motivates you and is nicely challenging. For example, if your current activity level choice is Level 1, you can change it to Level 2. This way you will get a more demanding activity goal.
You should check and update your personal settings in the Flow web service to make sure your progress towards your activity goal is calculated accurately. Go to flow.polar.com > tap your name/profile picture > tap Settings.
Your physical settings, (e.g. your sex, date of birth, height and weight) affect the accuracy of the measuring values, such as the heart rate zone limits and calorie expenditure.
Resting heart rate value
It’s important that you check and update also 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:
- Wear your Polar device. Lie down on your back and relax.
- After about 1 minute, start a training session on your wearable. Choose any sport profile, for example Other indoor.
- Lie still and breathe calmly for 3–5 minutes. Don’t look at your training data during the measuring.
- 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!
Other factors affecting your heart rate and the accumulation of your daily activity
Your Polar device with Continuous Heart Rate tracking can detect elevated heart rate readings also if you’re stressed, excited, or feeling sick like have the flu. Also these higher heart rate readings will make you reach your activity goal a little faster.
If you have an abnormally high heart rate that makes you reach your activity goal too fast, we recommend that you turn off the Continuous Heart Rate feature on your device and continue to monitor your activity based only on the 24/7 Activity tracking feature and your wrist movements. This way you’ll be able to get more reliable feedback on your activity.
If you find that now when you’re using a Polar device with Continuous Heart Rate tracking it’s more difficult to reach your activity goal than it was before, it’s probably because you’re in good condition!
When you do aerobic training long enough, your heart will become more efficient and will pump more blood per beat than before. This can be observed as a lower resting heart rate as well as a lower training heart rate because to pump the same amount of blood, your heart needs fewer beats.
So let’s say you like to go for a 50 minute walk. Earlier the 24/7 Activity Tracking feature recorded your wrist movements to track your activity. Now when you go for the same walk, the Continuous Heart Rate feature tracks also your heart rate, and detects that your fit heart doesn’t have to beat too hard during the training session. As the measuring of your overall activity is now more personal, your low heart rate affects the progress towards reaching your activity goal. Now you’ll either have to walk longer with the same pace or quicken your pace for the same 50 minute walk to get your heart beating faster to accumulate more activity.