How does google fit track heart rate?

In this brief guide, we will answer the question “ How does Google Fit track heart rate?”, and provide you with more details on how you can use Google Fit to track heart readings.

How does Google Fit track heart rate?

Google Fit uses the rear camera and the phone’s flashlight to track your heart rate. What it essentially does to get the figures, is use the camera’s photosensors to track the different absorption of light in the blood.

With the latest update of Google Fit, you can measure your heart rate by just using your phone. To use this feature Google Support offers instructions to Measure your heart rate

  1. On your phone, tap on the Google Fit app to open it
  2. At the bottom, tap Home.
  3. Scroll down to “Heart rate” and tap Add data.
  4. Touch and lightly hold your finger on the back camera lens. Follow the on-screen instructions and keep your hand still. 

(This works best in a well-lit room. If you’re in a dimly lit space, point your camera to a light source or turn on your phone’s flashlight. In the Google Fit app, at the bottom right, tap the Flashlight.)

  1. Tap Save.

Tip: Make sure your hands are warm. Blood flow in your fingers decreases when your hands are cold and can cause a weak signal.

To view your heart rate history

  1. On your phone, tap on the Google Fit app to open it
  2. At the bottom of the page, tap Home.
  3. Scroll down to “Heart rate” and tap More >.
  4. You can view your heart rate history by tapping on either Day, Week, Month, or Year.

The mechanism behind measuring heart rate

If you are using your phone to measure your heart rate, Google Fit uses the rear camera and the phone’s flashlight to track your heart rate. What it essentially does to get the figures, is use the camera’s photosensors to track the different absorption of light in the blood.

Blood is red in colour, which means it absorbs all other light but red. To use Google Fit to measure heart rate, make sure you are in an environment with constant light. Alternatively, you can use the flashlight at the back of your phone to make sure that light is sufficient on the tip of your finger.

When your heart beats, blood flows through the capillaries. The light-sensitive photodiodes in the camera detect the amount of blood flowing through your fingertip.  

After a heartbeat, the blood flow increases slightly, which translates to more light being absorbed. Between consecutive heartbeats, the blood flow is comparably lesser, so the amount of light absorbed is also slightly lesser.

By using photosensitive sensors to detect the different intensities of light reflected back, a repetitive pattern of highs and lows is observed. The highs and lows are detected due to the increase and decrease in blood between consecutive heartbeats. 

This data is then processed to give information on how fast the heart beats in a given minute.

The readings are influenced by a lot of parameters such as movement and light intensities, so the reading is only relatively accurate, and does not have accurate readings from a clinical perspective. It’s just a good ballpark figure which can help you to better understand your health. 

It can be useful in long term graphing to know your resting heart rate when working towards achieving your fitness goals. To get more accurate and frequent readings on your Google Fit heart rate, you can use a smartwatch as well.

Which smartwatches can connect to Google Fit? 

You can use a smartwatch to better track your heart rate measurements. Most smartwatches come with advanced heart rate measurement sensors which make them more accurate at taking a reading. 

Most smartwatches also frequently measure your heart rate to give you heart rate information about the whole day. Smartwatches that support Wear OS can easily sync with Google Fit and can give you better readings on your heart rate data. 

The following are a few examples of smartwatches that support the Wear OS.

  • The Mobvoi TicWatch Pro
  • The Fossil Gen 5
  • The Skagen Falster 3
  •  The Suunto 7
  • The Moto 360 (2019)
  • Misfit Vapor 2
  • TicWatch C2
  • Huawei Watch 2

Why is Heart rate important?

Heart rate is considered a vital sign in the medical field. It is important to know that your resting heart rate is within the suggested limit of 60-90 beats per minute. A higher heart rate can be a sign of a serious health issue and has been shown to be associated with a greater risk of heart diseases. 

Athletes and fitness experts are prone to have a lower resting heart rate. It is good practice to keep track of your resting heart rate and consult a doctor if you observe any abnormalities.

Why should I use Google Fit to check my heart rate?

Google Fit is a health app that stores information on your daily steps, workout activity, sleep times, weight and much more. It is a great tool to have all your health information displayed in one place. 

Syncing the Google Fit with different apps that measure such parameters as sleep, heart rate, etc can display all your fitness measurements in one place, which makes all your health stats to be easily accessible from one app.

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we answered the question “ How does Google Fit track heart rate?”, and provided you with more details on how you can use Google Fit to track heart readings.

References

https://support.google.com/fit/answer/10477667?hl=en

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