How my fitness tracker tells me when I’m getting sick

Fitness trackers can offer a myriad of benefits, one being the ability to track your heart rate. (Photo: Yahoo Lifestyle Singapore)

It can be argued that a fitness tracker is a must for any fitness enthusiast these days.

A decent device helps you track various parts of your daily life, be it the number of steps, the calories you burn, the duration of your exercise, and some even track your blood oxygen level.

But there’s one feature that I’ve found extremely useful for myself in four years of use, and that’s my resting heart rate estimates.

Thanks to this feature, I found something extremely interesting in what it tells me – I’m able to predict when I’m about to get sick.

It helped me take the necessary precautions and improve my lifestyle to relieve most illnesses before they really hit.

What I initially thought was bro-science (I actually found it out on my own through trial and error) turned out to be backed up by various studies done by medical institutes.

A study from the Stanford University School of Medicine in 2017 investigates whether a drastic change in heart rate and blood oxygen levels could be the start of disease.

Harvard Medical School even points out that a racing heartbeat is a precursor to disease, but can also be a sign of heart problems.

Coupled with Fitbit’s recent research on the use of fitness trackers to discover the outbreak of COVID-19, it becomes pretty clear that having a fitness tracker would help detect an illness in the future.

So how do you actually find out that you could potentially get sick?

If you own a fitness tracker from major brands like Garmin, Fitbit or Apple, there will usually be a feature that tells you your daily resting heart rate in beats per minute (bpm). Note that this is different from your heart rate displayed in real time.

Your heart rate displayed in real time may vary due to the activities you do during the day, so this is not the stat you want to see.

The resting heart rate for the day is a static number, usually calculated by different proprietary means, depending on the fitness tracker you’re using.

For example, Garmin’s resting heart rate is calculated using the lowest thirty-minute average heart rate over a twenty-four hour period. For Fitbit, they use an undisclosed proprietary calculation method.

Either way, as long as you’re able to read your estimated daily resting heart rate, it’s more than enough to know if your body is getting sick.

However, different people have different resting heart rates. Your own values ​​may be very different from someone else’s.

My personal resting heart rate ranges from 67 bpm to around 72 bpm. As long as my daily numbers are within this range, I’m usually not too worried.

A screenshot of heart rate readings from the Fitbit app.

My own personal resting heart rate ranges from late May 2022, the last time I got mildly ill. (Photo: Yahoo Lifestyle Singapore)

But the last time I nearly got sick, referring to the image above, the peak resting heart rate from May 27 to May 28 was enough for me to take a few precautions to get my body to rest .

Luckily it was a weekend at the time, so I ended up relaxing and making sure I got enough sleep.

And as expected, I had a slight fever on the 29th (not COVID, don’t worry), but I recovered quickly thanks to the early warning and my body was well rested.

I was fit for daily function again on May 30th and you will notice that my heart rate stabilized and returned to “normal” values ​​shortly thereafter.

This is just a simple example of how your fitness tracker can notify you if you get sick.

Of course, sometimes things can be more serious than that.

An elevated heart rate can indicate many other issues, so if you still get sick after taking all precautions, or if your heart rate suddenly increases for several days, be sure to get to a doctor for a checkup.

Who knows, it might just be a tracker malfunction, but that would be the best news for any individual at this point.

Either way, there’s no denying that showing an elevated resting heart rate can sometimes be extremely helpful to your health. With fitness trackers being much more accessible and affordable these days, this could be a very valid way to stay healthy.

Dominic loves technology and games. When he’s not busy cooling his computer parts, he does professional wrestling.

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