How does Garmin measure respiration?

In this guide, we will talk about how Garmin measures respiration, what is respiration rate, a list of some of the devices that include measuring respiration rate and what the Respiration Widget is. Additionally, we will mention the most important measurements such as heart rate, stress tracking and sleep monitoring. 

How does Garmin measure respiration?

If you wonder how Garmin measures respiration, here we have the answer. Garmin measures respiration rate considering each breath you take, which is coded into your Heart Rate Variability. The length of time between consecutive heartbeats shortens slightly as you inhale and lengthens when you exhale. This is also known as respiration sinus arrhythmia.

Respiration rate is considered a vital sign along with your heart rate and blood pressure. Resting respiration rate typically ranges between 12 to 20 times per minute during rest and around 40 to 50 times per minute during exercise or intense physical activity. The increase in respiration rate reflects the demand for oxygen-producing aerobic energy. 

Your respiration rate can tell you a lot about your health, a low respiratory rate is generally an indicator of good health. If you have difficulties breathing while you are exercising or even when you are just doing something like walking, you can set some alarms on and it means it is time to visit your physician. 

Respiration Rate

As discussed, the respiration rate depends on your Heart Rate Variability. Subsequently, Firstbeat Analytics mentions that the ability to analytically extract respiration rate from HRV data depends on accurate heartbeat data. The degree to which one’s heart rate changes from one beat to the next can be a matter of milliseconds.

You can see this information displayed on your device in two different ways. Through the Respiration Widget and the Activity Data Field.   

Devices including this feature

Here is a list of some of the devices that have the feature included. However, this first list can only display this information as a data field and requires the use of a Garmin HRM-Tri, HRM-Run or HRM-Dual strap:

  • Edge 530
  • Edge 830
  • Edge 1030 Plus

The following list of watches can display the respiration rate information through the Widget or when recording an activity:

  • Fenix 6 Series
  • Forerunner 945
  • MARQ Collection
  • Quatix 6 Series
  • Tactix Delta Series

However, note the use of HRM-Tri, HRM-Run, HRM-Pro or HRM-Dual strap is required for all activity types, except Breathwork or Yoga. 

Respiration Widget (Fenix 6 or Quatix 6 Series)

We will talk about the Respiration Widget on the Fenix 6 or Quatix 6 Series so we can understand a bit more about how it works. As you may imagine, the Respiration Widget will display how many breaths you take during a minute. This is measured using your HRV when measured by the heart sensor of your watch. Moreover, you can use it to track your breathing not only during the day but also while you sleep. 

As indicated by Garmin Support, “The average respiration rate while resting is between 12-20 breaths per minute (BRPM). During activities, BRPM can be much higher, between 40-50 BRPM.”. However, it is important to consider that Garmin wearables are not meant to be medical devices and the data is also not meant to be used for medical purposes. Also, it is not intended to be used to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent diseases. Garmin recommends consulting your doctor before you engage in any exercise routine. 

How can I add the Respiration Widget?

To add the respiration widget ‘Hold Up’ and select Widgets. Next, select ‘+Add’ and also select ‘Respiration’. Finally, select where you would like the Widget to display and now you are ready to see your breaths per minute.  

However, remember that the Widget requires software version 4.10 or later. Moreover, activity or movement can impact your watch’s ability to read HRV using the Optical Heart Rate sensor and will result in the watch not being able to read your breaths per minute. Subsequently, it is required to use an HRM-Run, HRM-Tri, or HRM Dual strap to capture the data during an activity. 

Heart Rate

All of the activities in our body rely on a very important organ, the Heart. Heart Rate tracking allows users to understand how their heart responds during exercise. As we know, a healthy heart is essential to achieve fitness goals, especially those that revolve around improving our cardiovascular health and result in weight loss. 

With Garmin, you can monitor your Heart Rate 24/7 and see the information displayed in charts and stats through the Garmin Connect App or website. However, consider that tracking your Heart Rate will not specifically serve a medical purpose nor it is the case for diagnosing, treating or curing diseases. If you are concerned about your Heart Rate, visit your physician for professional advice.

Stress Tracking

For stress tracking measurement, your Garmin watch uses your Heart Rate Variability to help track your stress levels throughout the day. As mentioned, Heart Rate Variability is the measurement of the time between heartbeats as opposed to your heart rate which is determined by the number of beats per minute. HRV focuses on small fluctuations of your heartbeat which would be an indication of sudden experiences you may be experiencing. 

Sleep Monitoring

We all know how a good night’s sleep makes us feel versus a bad night. Having slept enough hours and the quality of our sleep will make the difference in our mood and even our overall health in the long term. Even more so, when our body reaches the deep sleep stage, our body can recover and repair physically. Whereas the REM stage is crucial for consolidating memories, learning, among others. 

When sleep monitoring and blood oxygen saturation are measured together, it can help us determine the quality of our sleep and how it could high-stress affect your day. 

Why is this blog about How does Garmin measure respiration important?

As we have discussed how Garmin measures respiration, we can conclude that Garmin measures respiration rate considering each breath you take, which is coded into your Heart Rate Variability. 

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about How does Garmin measure respiration

What does the respiration rate measure?

The respiration rate is measured by the number of breaths a person takes during a minute. The rate is usually measured when a person is at rest and simply involves counting the number of breaths taken in a minute by counting how many times the chest rises. However, consider that your respiration rates may increase if you have a fever, you are ill or due to other medical conditions.

Moreover, respiration rate depends on your Heart Rate Variability. Subsequently, Firstbeat Analytics mentions that the ability to analytically extract respiration rate from HRV data depends on accurate heartbeat data. The degree to which one’s heart rate changes from one beat to the next can be a matter of milliseconds. You can see this information displayed on your device in two different ways. Through the Respiration Widget and the Activity Data Field.

What instrument measures respiratory rate?

The instrument that measures respiratory rate is a Capnostream20p measures respiratory rate using capnography (RRetCO2). Comparison between 3 different monitors that measure respiratory rate.

What is the normal respiration rate during exercise?

The normal respiration rate during exercise (if it is intense) breathing rates may increase from a typical resting rate of 15 breaths a min up to 40 to 50 breaths per min. However, you may see it varies from one person to another depending on their fitness level.  

How does Garmin watch measure stress?

Your Garmin Watch measures stress by considering the Heart Rate Variability while you are inactive to determine your overall stress. Stress levels range from 0 to 100, where 0-25 is considered a resting state, 26-50 is low stress, 51-75 is medium stress and 76-100 is considered a high-stress state. 

What is the normal respiratory rate for a person with COPD?

The normal respiratory rate for adults is between 12 to 20 normal breaths per minute at rest. A respiration rate that dips below 12 breaths per minute, or goes over 25 breaths per minute, is considered abnormal. If you have COPD you will experience some difficulties while you breathe, this is why you may see a dip below 12 breaths per minute, but it may vary. 

References 

Support.garmin.com 

Understanding and Using the Respiration Widget on the Fenix 6 or quatix 6 Series 

Justrunlah.com  

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