Garmin has a useful metric on most of its smartwatches and fitness trackers called Body Battery score. What is it, we hear you ask? How do I increase my score? Read on to find out.
The metric was first introduced back in 2020. Powered by the then-independent Firstbeat Analytics, it originally appeared on the Suunto Fitness 3 sports-watch. The feature takes 24/7 stress tracking to the next level. Its aim is to help people make better training, rest and sleep decisions. Firstbeat Analytics has since been acquired by Garmin, but the metric remains.
Body Battery score – what is it?
The aim of Body Battery is to give you an indication of your body’s current energy levels. Devices with this feature essentially use a combination of stress, heart rate variability (HRV), sleep and activity data to arrive at these estimates. This actually doesn’t present anything new on the hardware side, but the way the data is utilized is new.
The metric ranges between 0 and 100. The higher the number the more rested you are. All of this is presented in real-time and changes as your body’s energy levels increase or decrease.
If you’ve bought a new device, it might take up to a week for it to learn the ins and outs of your body. During this time you might notice that Body Battery is stuck at 5%. The same is the case if you do a hardware reset of your watch or fitness tracker.
If you take your wearable off for several hours at a time, the algorithm will plug the gaps with estimates of the charging and draining of your Body Battery. Basically, the more you wear (and the more consistantly you wear) the device on your wrist, the more accurate the metric will be.
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The feedback you get from Body Battery is based primarily on an analysis of heart rate variability (HRV). Basically this is the same data used to deliver Garmin’s popular all-day stress tracking.
The company does have a Work Load metric on its high-end sports watches. And although that metric is also saying something about the physiological impact of your activities, the similarities with Body Battery end there.
In a nutshell, the Body Battery concept is about taking overall physiological stress and the impact of physical activity and placing them together into the context of recovery moments and the restorative power of sleep. The Work Load metric is just one part of that puzzle. It only depends on your exercise.
Stress and physical activity deprive your body of energy. Restful moments and sleep give you a boost. Garmin Body Battery takes all this into account to let you know when your your energy levels are high. The metric provides you with at a glance information on when to push hard, when to rest.
In Garmin Connect you can also find a Charged and Drained value alongside the Body Battery Score. This shows how many points you’ve gained during the day and how many points you’ve spent.
Here’s an example. As mentioned, a deficit can accumulate over a few days.
Which Garmin watches have Body Battery?
There’s a long list of Garmin watches that pack the Body Battery score. It is safe to say, whichever of the recent crop of sports watches or fitness trackers you buy, it will probably have this. Here’s the full list.
- Approach S62
- D2 Air, Air X10, Mach 1
- Descent G1 Series, Mk2 Series
- Epix (Gen 2)
- Fenix 6,7
- Forerunner 45, 55, 245, 255, 745, 945, 955 Series
- Swim 2
- Instinct 1 and 2, Crossover Series
- Lily Series
- Marq Collection (Gen 1 and 2)
- Quatix 6, 7 Series
- Tactix 7, Delta Series
- Venu 1 and 2 Series
- Vivoactive 3 and 4 Series
- Vivosmart 4 and 5 Series
How to increase your Body Battery score?
Body Battery allows you to plan your day to optimize times for activity and rest. You might be wondering on the best ways to increase your Score. This is not that difficult. In fact it is easier than acquiring fitness gains as it requires the opposite of work.
Stress and physical activity are what is needed to make your body stronger. But push too hard for too long and you may be doing yourself a disservice. Not to mention running the risk of injury if you are training. This is why it is important to keep an eye on your Body Battery score.
Not enough people understand that recovery is just as important as training. So while stress is unavoidable and physical activity is needed to keep us in shape, make sure this is followed by adequate periods of rest.
A tough workout might cause short-term exhaustion but excessive stress sustained over a longer period might have a large cumulative impact. So if you have a low Score, look at the past few days of measurements to identify what may have been the cause.
Listed below are some good ways to increase Body Battery. It’s all common sense.
- Sleep – unsurprisingly, sleep tops this list. Leave the headphones on the bedside table, go to bed early and get some quality rather than restless kip time. Sleep is what your body uses to recover and recharge. This is why your Body Battery score will be high in the morning and decrease during the day. Unfortunately Garmin does not track naps. But they will be reflected indirectly in your Body Battery as your heart rate will decrease during this time and HRV will increase.
- Avoid alcohol, caffeine and other sugary drinks. Replace them with water. It is particularly important to avoid these close to sleep.
- Eat healthy. That should go without saying. Also, try to finish any large meals a few hours before you go to sleep.
- Reduce stress and negative emotions. This is something that can indirectly effect your Body Battery. HRV can go down if you are experiencing psychological stress, similar to putting stress on your body with exercise.
- Rest – take a day off, skip going to the gym or for that run. Any vigorous activity will decrease your Body Battery score.
- Stay well hydrated.
There are also some factors you may not be able to do anything about. For example high temperatures can increase stress. The same is the case with noisy environments or very bright environments. Or high altitudes. So it is something to keep in mind.
Also, if you are sick or in pain – this will in most cases automatically reduce your Body Battery. So do everything you can to recover as quickly as possible.
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