Written by Lieze

8 tips to get an accurate heart rate measurement via your watch

A good wrist measurement depends on your physical condition, how high you wear the watch on your wrist, how tight it is, and more. We'll give 8 tips for an accurate wrist measurement. Sneak preview: wear the watch as high as possible on your wrist during exercise and make sure that no light gets between your wrist and the sensor. For a really accurate measurement, connect a chest strap.

Tip 1: wear the watch 2 fingers above your wrist joint

Watch on wrist

Where you wear the watch on your wrist is important for the outcome of the heart rate measurement. The higher the better. That is why we recommend wearing the watch at least 2 fingers above your wrist during a workout. The sensor 'reads' your blood flow through tissue. The softer the tissue, the better the measurement. Do you have any tattoos? Wear the watch on the wrist without tattoos. Some inks affect the reading.

Tip 2: wear the watch tightly, so it doesn't shift.

Watch tightly around the wrist

Light between the sensor and your wrist interferes with the measurement. You can prevent light from interfering the measurement by tightening the strap a bit more than you're used to. It should be tight so it doesn't shift, but it shouldn't restrict your circulation. Is your strap too big, too small or is it just not connecting? Consider purchasing a new strap.

Tip 3: start the heart rate measurement before you start working out.

Heart rate measurement watch

Wait a moment before you start working out when you start a measurement or sports mode. The watch needs a few minutes to be able to do a stable measurement. We also recommend a small warm up. Your heart rate will be higher when you start your actual training and the heart rate sensor will measure a higher heart rate more easily.

Tip 4: don't use wrist measurement for interval and strength training.

Coolblue employee with heart rate chest strap

A wrist sensor doesn't measure interval and strength training as well as a heart rate chest strap. This is because a heart rate chest strap measures your heartbeat, while the wrist sensor measures the oxygen released in your blood. This means that a wrist sensor is always behind during sprint or other short and intensive interval trainings. During strength training, your muscles contract in an unnatural way, which affects the measurement. That is why we always recommend a heart rate chest strap for these types of workouts.

Tip 5: update the software regularly.

Update software of the smartwatch

The algorithms that determine the accuracy of the measurement for the most part are constantly changing. Make sure to update the software of the watch as soon as a new update is available. You can do this via the app on your smartphone.

Tip 6: remove the sticker and keep the sensor free of dirt and scratches.

Heart rate sensor sports watch

Some watches have a sticker on the sensor for protection. Remove the sticker first. Scratches and dirt make the measurement less effective. This means you should handle your watch carefully and clean the sensor from time to time. You can do this with a damp cloth.

Tip 7: take your fluctuating heart rate into account.

Expert with watch

All these tips for an accurate measurement are nice, but remember that your heart rate changes all the time. It depends on your physical condition. You might think that the measurement isn't accurate, while you're actually not completely well and have a higher or lower heart rate than normal. For example, are you tired or sick? Your heart rate can be 10 beats higher than normal. The same goes for when you're stressed, had a lot of coffee, or when it's hot.

Tip 8: connect a heart rate chest strap for really accurate measurements

Heart rate strap

A wrist measurement gives a good indication of your heart rate, but it's never as accurate as a measurement via a heart rate chest strap. You can connect a compatible heart rate chest strap for an incredibly accurate heart rate measurement.

Heart rate measurements less accurate due to tattoos

A tattoo on the site of a heart rate monitor can reduce the effectiveness of an optical heart rate monitor. The light used by the heart rate monitor is blocked by the ink and the pattern. As a result, you can get a less accurate heart rate measurement

Article by:
Lieze Watch Expert.

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