Garmin stress score (A brief guide)

In this guide, we will discuss the Garmin stress score. 

What does the Garmin Stress Score tell?

Garmin Stress Score is meant to tell the individual what level of stress they are experiencing, and the Stress Level can be found on some Garmin watches. The Garmin Stress score helps people determine their current level of stress according to their Heart-Rate Variability, and if there is less variability between beats, stress levels are higher.

According to wereable.com, the Garmin stress score is “calculated from a three-minute standing test, rating your readiness for a session between 1 (very ready) and 100 (in a high-stress state).”

Stress tracking (powered by Firstbeat analytics) was introduced to Garmin watches in 2017 and since then, stress monitoring has been integrated to the Garmin, fitness, outdoors, and lifestyle watches.

This includes the popular Forerunner and fénix lineups, along with vívosmart, vívomove, and vívoactive smartwatches.

How does Garmin Calculate Stress?

Garmin calculates stress through measuring the Heart Rate variability of the individual, which refers to the time elapsed between heartbeats. When someone is experiencing a high degree of stress, their heart rate variability decreases, and a Garmin device picks up on that.

Garmin Stress Level 

The Garmin stress level feature enables users to monitor their stress and take appropriate actions where necessary. The stress level range on Garmin is from 0 to 100, and it is segregated accordingly:

  • 0 to 25: Resting state
  • 26 to 50: Low stress
  • 51 to 75: Medium stress
  • 76 to 100: High stress state

According to Garmin, the device should be worn even during sleeping so the stress levels can be monitored properly.

Garmin Stress: How does it Work?

Garmin Stress score is meant to show the person their Stress Level and it is a new feature on some Garmin watches. The person can find out their current level of stress which Garmin measures through Heart-Rate Variability. The Garmin stress level feature enables people to manage their stress by notifying them of high levels of stress.


Garmin Connect: All Day Stress Measurement

Garmin connect shows the stress all day, and the range usually goes from 0 to 100, in which 0 to 25 is a resting state, 26 to 50 is low stress, 51 to 75 is medium stress, and 76 to 100 is a high stress state. Because Garmin connect informs the user of stress all day, one may find it easier to pinpoint moments of high stress and try to change those factors.

The physiological perspective of stress

For most people, stress is a normal part of their lives and to live a balanced and healthy lifestyle doesn’t necessarily mean we need to avoid stress, on the contrary, we need to manage it and develop coping skills. 

It has been said that stress actually helps to boost our performance under certain situations and it makes us become more resilient, but managing stress is not always an easy thing to do.

Stress can be both a physiological phenomenon and a subjective experience where the first is responsible for increased activity in our autonomic nervous system, which is also responsible for our flight or fight response.

Stress is an involuntary response and we don’t always tend to notice it, and we really shouldn’t always.

These responses are linked to resolving problems when we perceive we are in danger or a life-threatening situation, which in the end is intended to ensure our survival. 

As indicated by firstbeat.com “Research shows that men and women, alike, struggle to identify stress consistently. Even when we are aware of stress, it isn’t always easy to talk about. For many, acknowledging stress and its impacts is tantamount to admitting weakness, confessing to a failure to cope.”

Identifying stress from a physiological point of view, and being aware it exists, provides a different perspective on what to do and how to manage it. 


Stress monitoring: The science behind it

As discussed, the Garmin Stress score is powered by Firstbeat analytics to interpret how your heart is beating from one moment to the other.

They have been validating and improving this measurement over the course of a decade and it is said that the Firstbeat’s stress measurement analysis has been utilized in over 200,000 lifestyle assessments conducted by health, fitness, and lifestyle professionals (firstbeat.com).

Heart rate variability or beat-to-beat changes in the length of time between heartbeats can provide significant information about what is going on inside your body.

Following the right approach within these small changes that are measured in milliseconds can be traduced into analytics (observation windows) that can help monitor autonomic responses. 

“Through this window you can witness the interplay between the fight-or-flight (sympathetic) and the rest-and-digest (parasympathetic) systems, as they work in tandem, responding to the challenges of life and environment (firstbeat.com).”

Garmin Metrics

Garmin is believed to be the best in the business when it comes to multisport training.

They have amazing and detailed cycling metrics, running data to some of the best golf watches ever made so far and the best thing is that Garmin adapts to your sports needs.

There seems to be only one little detail, finding the right features since there are so many advanced metrics included thought initially to support the needs of professional athletes.

Can I manage stress?

There are plenty of stress management techniques and tips all over the internet but it doesn’t mean they will all be helpful for you.

This basically means what works for your friend or someone you know, doesn’t necessarily mean it will work for you and as firstbeat.com indicates “All-day Stress tracking means skipping the mediator and getting straight to discovering what works best for you.”

If your Garmin device is letting you know that there are high levels of stress before going to bed you can anticipate to this moment and find your own solutions, so tracking your stress levels during the day can actually become very useful. 

This doesn’t mean you should make dramatic changes overnight, instead, focus on little things since they are the ones that make the difference.

The idea is to find what best works for you if you identify how watching drama series or binge-watching Netflix tends to show high-stress levels then try changing to a different show or listening to some relaxing music to see how your body reacts. 

Garmin for Running (metrics)

Some of the metrics include pace, distance and time, VO2 Max estimate, recovery advisor, race predictor, stress score, heart rate zones, lactate threshold, vertical oscillation, vertical ratio, performance condition, cadence, stride length and ground contact time and balance.

Now, this may seem a lot to take in and very complicated to understand just by thinking about the names but we will discuss some of them in detail.

  • Pace, distance and time: for some runners, this is just exactly what they need. The detailed data is split down to offer you pace across each split (mile or km) and enabling you to examine your performance over long distances. You can find it on all Garmin forerunners, Fenix, Visosmart HR+ and Vivoactive HR watch. 

  • VO2 Max estimate: this is considered a universal measure of fitness where there is an estimate of the maximum volume of oxygen your body can process at peak exercise via heart rate. If the number increases then it means your training is effective. You can find it in Garmin watches Forerunner 230, 235, 630, 920XT, 735XT and Fenix. 

  • Recovery advisor: athletes know that getting the right amount of rest is essential after a training session to avoid injuries and maintain their performance. This metric guides you on how long you should rest based on your performance. Just male sure this setting is on in “My stats” on your device and then you can go for a run. The recovery advisor will save your session a minimum of 6 hours and for a maximum of 4 days.

  • Stress score: the Garmin stress score predicts how ready your body is for a workout session before going for a run. And as mentioned before, it is calculated from a 3 min standing rest, rating your readiness for a session (between 1 and 100).

Garmin for cycling

The metrics are speed, distance, time and laps, cadence, power/total power in watts/overall kilojoules, training stress score or TSS, normalized power or NP, intensify factor or IF, torque effectiveness and pedal smoothness.

  1. Speed, distance, time and laps: these are the basic metrics for cycling tracking where you can monitor your speed as well as distance traveled from your device. In addition, the laps feature allows you to track or hitting regular routes. You can find this in all edge models, forerunner 735XT and 920XT.
  2. Cadence: this means your revolutions per minute or RPM. This is considered a huge metric for indoor and outdoor cyclists which ensure you are pedaling at your optimum rate. You can find it in Garmin edge 25, 520, 820, 1000, Forerunner 735XT, 920XT, vivoactive HR and Fenix. 
  3. Training stress score (TSS): TSS will measure the stress placed on your body during a session. This will guide experienced riders on a balance between intensity and volume of a workout session. 

According to werable.com “is an estimate of the amount of glycogen burned by a ride, a score of less than 150 shows that no recovery is needed, while over 450 will require several days’ rest.”

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Garmin for swimming

The metrics included are lengths, distance and pace, stroke count/rate, stroke type, and SWOLF.  

  1. Lengths, distance, and pace: here your device will track the number of lengths you swim and the distance covered. This will be sone automatically as soon as you begin your workout. Find it on Garmin swim, forerunner 920XT, 735XT, vivoactive HR and Fenix.
  2. Stroke Count/Rate: this measures your swim efficiency so it can become a big marker and it reports how quickly you pound the water per length or lap. 
  3. Stroke type: this will identify the type of stroke. Garmin watches can detect the 4 competitive classes of swimming strokes such as backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly and freestyle. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Garmin Stress Score

What is a good stress score on Garmin?

A good stress score will range between 26-50 (low stress) and 51-75 (medium stress).

When the sore is between 76-100 is considered a very high-stress level. 

How does Garmin measure stress?

Blue areas will represent time periods of resting-state and yellow areas will represent time periods of a high-stress level.

However, you can also see grey areas that will represent time periods where it was unable to determine stress because there is too much action. 

You can pair it with your phone to check daily stress data on your smartphone. 

What is Garmin all-day stress tracking?

Garmin all-day stress in a feature that will measure your heart beating rate and will use the data to reveal when your body is experiencing stress.

In addition, it will also check on where you are at rest and recovering. 

How tight should a Garmin watch be?

Your Garmin smartwatch would be worn loosely enough that it can move back and forth on your wrist, so it is not necessary to tighten for it to measure.

What are the early signs of stress?

Some of the early signs of stress involve headaches, muscle tension, neck or back pain.

In addition, you can experience an upset stomach, dry mouth, chest pains, rapid heartbeat, difficulties sleeping, fatigue, loss of appetite or overeating, among others. 

Why is this blog about Garmin Stress Score important?

In this era, stress has become a normal part of our daily activities and our normal life.

However, it doesn’t mean we have to get used to living with it.

The Garmin Stress Score is considered one way of measuring stress levels, however, not the only one.

The Garmin brand has developed a very complete line of watches that are said to fit your sporting needs.

But even if you are not a high performing athlete you can also benefit from the Garmin watches and specifically their Garmin Stress Score to keep track of it. 

Please feel free to comment in the comments section below. 

Recommended links

References

Firstbeat.com

Wareable.com

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