Which heart rate monitor do you use?


  • Community Moderator

    Partly inspired by this thread, I've just picked up a Fitbit Sense (the reviews online rated its sensors well, and it has a crack at SpO2 overnight, which is something I want to look at for non ME/CFS reasons). No idea if I'd recommend it or not yet though - far too early to say. It has a nice screen, but that's not something I'd recommend organising one's decision around 🙂 Like @Allana , I'm also interested in working out how to calculate a sensible Anaerobic Threshold (Allana, I've stumbled across a couple of websites, which I've linked below - I'm not sure how good they are though) - although so far the numbers I'm getting are consistent with my experience in my routine, more or less. The data are helpful for getting a feel for what's going on, and managing it.

    http://www.cfsselfhelp.org/library/pacing-numbers-using-your-heart-rate-to-stay-inside-energy-envelope

    https://solvecfs.org/using-a-heart-rate-monitor-to-prevent-post-exertional-malaise-in-me-cfs/



  • @Daffy_Dave Thank you everyone for your comments. I think I would like to try using a heart rate monitor for pacing and reducing PEM. What does HRV stand for?


  • Community Moderator

    @Christine At least in "Fitbit speak" it stands for heart rate variability - this is best explained here rather than by me: https://www.firstbeat.com/en/blog/what-is-heart-rate-variability-hrv/

    Further to my post above as well - Given that the Fitbit sense isn't cheap ($420 reduced on Amazon, $500 RRP) I suspect future me wouldn't recommend it just for heart-rate monitoring - there are cheaper devices that look like they do the heart-rate but without the smartwatch bells and whistles, and the other sensors and whatnot. I'm not saying that the other bits and bobs aren't useful, but I was lucky in that my finances were such I could pick something up like this at the moment, but it'd be interesting if we could get an idea from this thread the cheapest way to get decent heart-rate monitoring (and a device that would last).



  • @Daffy_Dave Thank you the article and your comments were very helpful.



  • @Simone_Em_Aus you're right. It was an unrealistic expectation.



  • @SandyAtHome mine increases massively after eating too. I've learnt to lie down for at least half an hour after eating to avoid post-meal PEM! Though I'm not great at sticking to that rule tbh...



  • @Allana this tool can help you calculate the zones: https://d-baker.github.io/HR-zone-calculator/

    I'm too foggy to explain what the different zones mean right now but we'll get there eventually!



  • @river I'm the same.... don't always rest when I should be.



  • @Jop I bought a Fitbit versa light to monitor my heart rate at rest and during movement and standing and to determine HRV and to try to prevent PEM. Also it tracks my sleep well. It works well for all things but the HRV. So I'm investigating what is going wrong there. It's been useful in showing me that I need to rest when my HR is high but at times I have no choice but to do the activity anyway. I'm still learning how to use it.



  • @Simone_Em_Aus Thanks Simone for your thoughts. I'm sorry I've not been able to get on this community forum for a few days, I appreciate your honesty that it is tricky to answer as I really do have to way up what will work for me. You're absolutely right that having an amazing device that I can't figure out how to set up is not going to be very helpful and would just put more of a load on me. Perhaps I will just stick to my own way of figuring out what works best for me with pacing and minimising PEM to the extent that I can. Thanks very much for replying!



  • @Simone_Em_Aus Please would you tell me the name of the app which was developed for people with ME/CFS? I’ve just bought a Fitbit sense and found it very easy to set up and start using. I love the graphs showing sleep stages.


  • Community Moderator

    @Christine Nice one Christine 🙂 I don't know if useful or not, but I discovered a "custom activity zone", and the capacity to tinker with the "max heart rate", which has let me customise my heart-rate zones (it brings the "fat burn" zone down to a point where on an "active" day I'll bump into it a little) and created a new custom zone below that for "a little active" that I'm hoping (and it'll probably take some refining) can be used to get an idea of how much low-level activity I can manage without it running me down. It's hidden in the link at the bottom of the screenshot below. Apologies if this is either old news or not helpful. Either way, hope the fitbit is helpful 🙂

    4fd5f097-fd45-47f7-8aad-3e2cf64d7b76-image.png



  • @SandyAtHome I'm a bit late to this but just rereading through this thread and realized I should have responded... garmin vivosmart 4 doesn't let you set an alarm. The advertising may mislead you into thinking it does, but all it can do is alert you when it thinks your heart rate has been too high for more than 10 minutes while at rest. This is completely useless for us - in all the time I had my vivosmart, that alarm went off only once. (edited to add: this might also be how the cheaper fitbits work? But I can't remember)
    Some other garmin models like the vivoactive (which I have now) and many similar higher end watches in other brands can alert you to high and low heart rates that you configure yourself, while you are running an "activity". This is much more useful and it's what I do. I'm sure many of us would like a watch that can alert us at any time of day without needing to tap any buttons first, but unfortunately nothing like that exists, as far as I know. The good thing about only getting alerts while running an activity is that you can choose to not run one if you know you're going to go over your limit and don't want to be annoyed by the alarm.


  • Community Moderator

    @Christine said in Which heart rate monitor do you use?:

    @Simone_Em_Aus Please would you tell me the name of the app which was developed for people with ME/CFS? I’ve just bought a Fitbit sense and found it very easy to set up and start using. I love the graphs showing sleep stages.

    Sorry, @Christine! I’ve only just seen your message!

    This is the app. I don’t have a Fitbit, so I can’t help you with how to use it.

    https://gallery.fitbit.com/details/240bd0c9-5c5a-4dc3-9a1b-b738c26c5143



  • Sorry @river I haven't been on the forum for a bit and just saw your reply. I'm glad you found the same thing with the vivosmart 4. I was looking for a watch that would alert me straight away once my HR went too high, not ten minutes later as the vivosmart does. I thought I must have been missing something in the setting up, but you've clarified my confusion. Thanks for that.
    I'll take a look at the vivoactive, but I have to say that I found monitoring HR to be exhausting most days, but that could be because I couldn't find any pattern with HR and how I was feeling at any moment within the day.



  • @SandyAtHome you likely won't see any correlation on a day to day basis, at least at first - it's more about patterns over time and in the beginning it can seem like you're making no progress. For me I think it took about 4 months of monitoring before I reached a steady baseline and could see what my vitals were when not in PEM. To get there I had to make some drastic changes to my life which will not be possible for everyone either. It is hard work and unless you have a lot of supports it may be too exhausting. Best of luck!



  • @river Sounds like some really cool functions 🙂



  • Hi, another fitbit user here. I find it pretty easy to use and helpful. I also use the number of steps I do a day to inform my pacing and I have just made fitbit friends with some other local ME/CFS fitbit users so we can share our stats and support each other.



  • @kjb how many steps do you find you can take per day before you start getting PEM? I've thought of trying to use steps as a pacing tool but don't really have a sense of what ballpark I should be in



  • @river I'm still working it out tbh, but I aim to keep myself under 2500 most days - I'm mostly house/bed-bound. My house is quite long though so just going from my room to the kitchen a few times a day adds quite a few steps!


Log in to reply