Image source: Fitbit

HRV, temperature & breathing rate coming soon to owners of older Fitbits

Fitbit has been making lots of headlines over the past month with its new Sense, Versa 3 and Inspire 2 wearables. The first one, in particular, has piqued people’s interest due to new features the company has introduced. What’s interesting is that some of this functionality is coming to a few Fitbit’s older trackers, too. This will be available via the premium subscription.

For a monthly fee you’ll be able to access a new Health Metrics dashboard. It is not available at the time of writing as the above three trackers are only on pre-order. The shipping date is slated for September 25th so we should see the new functionality before then.


Health Metrics dashboard

Fitbit has not posted a screenshot of what the Health Metrics dashboard will look like but it has revealed a lot of info on what to expect. This shows that the data will revolve around five key health metrics that are measured during the night while you are sleeping.

Essential readingTop fitness trackers and health gadgets

All five will be available to owners of devices in the Versa range, Ionic and Sense. The first three but not the last two are coming to owners of Charge 3, Charge 4, Inspire HR and Inspire 2. Here they are in order.

Breathing rate

This is a never before seen metric for a Fitbit. We’ve seen it on other devices such as Polar Vantage V & M, Biostrap and others. It simply counts the number of breaths per minute and averages it up. This is done at night while you are sleeping as there’s little point doing it during the day considering you are up and about. An increase in breathing rate could be an indicator that you are coming down with something or that your body needs rest. So its good to follow trends over time.

Resting heart rate (RHR)

This metric is already available to owners of all Fitbits with a heart rate sensor. The addition the Health Metrics dashboard will bring is charting this info over time. You generally want a low resting heart rate as this is an indicator that your are fit and healthy.

Heart rate variability (HRV)

This is an interesting one. Most people don’t know about it but it is an important indicator of how stressed your body is. This could be due to psychological stress or physical stress resulting from running, cycling and other exercise. The metric measures the irregularity in intervals between your heart beats. It’s a bit counter intuitive, but in this case you want to aim for a high figure. It shows that you are rested and not stressed. The Health Metrics dashboard will give users access to raw HRV data.

Oxygen Saturation (SpO2)

Just like resting heart rate, this one is also available to owners of some existing Fitbit wearables. The dashboard will bring more insights, nightly averages and graphs. Strangely enough, while owners of Charge 3 and Charge 4 will still be able to access the chart on a daily basis, they are not included in the list of devices that will get access to the weekly and monthly trends.

Skin temperature variation

This one has made lots of headlines. Just like SpO2, it is coming tothe Versa range, Sense and even the aging Ionic. It takes your skin temperature and pits it against your baseline. That way you can track if it is above or below your norm. While some fluctuations are to be expected from night to night, a trend upwards can be an indicator you may have caught a bug.

Here’s a table which breaks all this down, device by device. To remind, Fitbit Premium offers other additional features such as more detailed sleep tracking. You can find our separate piece on this here.

Charge 3 Charge 4 Inspire HR Inspire 2 Ionic Versa range Sense
Breathing rate Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Resting heart rate Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Heart rate variability Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
SpO2 No No No No Yes Yes Yes
Skin temperature No No No No Yes Yes Yes

Fitbit premium subscription – how much does it cost?

A Fitbit Premium subscription subscription costs $9.99 per month or $79.99 per year. There a free 90 day trial for those who have never tried it before.

If you own one of the above wearables and qualify for the free trial we suggest you try it out. You have nothing to lose as long as you cancel before the 3 months run out. Those who purchase Fitbit Sense will automatically unlock a free 6 month Fitbit Premium trial.

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