Garmin has improved the heart rate sensor on its watches, so much so that they can be used to spot abnormal heart rates.
Essential reading: Top fitness trackers and health gadgets
The functionality was first introduced about a year and a half ago for heart rate that exceeds a certain value while you are at rest. This is similar to what you get on the Apple Watch. If you’re inactive for 10 minutes or more and your watch spots that your heart rate has gone above and stayed above your entered threshold, it will buzz to alert you.
But did you know that the watch on your wrist might be able to keep tabs on abnormally low heart rate, as well? If you own one of the following Garmin watches, you can set this up.
- Fenix 6 Series
- Forerunner 45/45S (feature coming soon)
- Forerunner 245/245 Music (feature coming soon)
- Forerunner 945 (feature coming soon)
- MARQ Series
- Tactix Delta Series
- vivoactive 4/4S
- vivoactive Legacy Hero series
- vivoactive Legacy Saga Series
- vivomove 3/3S
- vivomove Style
- vivomove Luxe
- vivosmart 4
The instructions for switching on the functionality depends on which device you own. But it’s similar to how you set up high heart rate alerts.
For example, if you have the Fenix 6 Series you’ll need to scroll down to the Heart Rate widget. Hold the Up button until the options menu pops up. Then you’ll need to select Heart Rate Options and Abnormal Heart Rate Alert. Turn on Low or High Alert and enter the thresholds. Detailed instructions for each watch on this list can be found on this link.
It’s worth noting, the lowest you can go for the bottom threshold is 40 bpm (beats per minute). Now while this might seem very low and a potential indicator of a condition such as tachycardia or bradycardia, it might be perfectly normal for a Garmin owner. Many trained athletes have heart rates that dip into the 30s at rest.
The question was raised on a Garmin forum, with a suggestion of providing an option to set a lower number.
“Your feedback will be taken into consideration as we continue to develop this feature, but I cannot promise a change.” was the response from the Garmin moderator.
“This was designed to work for as many customers as possible while delivering the greatest accuracy that we can. I apologize that our current settings do not work for you and the frustration this causes.”
So for now, 40 bpm will remain as the lowest value. It should work for the general population but if you’re a well trained athlete you might want to give this functionality a miss.
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