Cycling Gear Chest band heart rate monitor uses - sleep analysis

Jul 16, 2020
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Hi everyone, I'm 62 and following ten years of inactivity due to am ongoing neurological condition, I'm forcing myself to get fit via fast walking and cycling. Just for good measure, I'm recovering slowly from two herniated lumbar discs, doing my utmost to avoid back surgery. I initially lost 12kg of muscle ten years ago when the disorder was first discovered, but regained it as ... well, not-muscle! But since my hernias, I lost 15kg of muscle over two months in the Spring, so I've very "svelt" shall we say (64kg, 175cm) - A perfect build for a cyclist perhaps :) ?.

Enough background. Obviously my goal is to become as fit as I possibly can, and to regain muscle strength, while doing so as safely as possible. I've decided to buy a chest band heart rate monitor such as the Polar H9 /H10. But one aspect of heart rate monitoring is very important to me -- to analyse my atrociously bad sleep and possible apnea. I know I can do this with some smart/sport watches but I can't justify such an expense for something that will die in a few years when its battery no longer holds charge (no interest at all in a fitness band either). I imagine that I can use the chest band upon awakening in the morning in order to estimate my resting heart rate, but is it possible to wear it all night to get a better idea of what is happening realtime? Does this require some specific phone app to examine the data?

Finally, as my main fitness use will hopefully be while cycling, can anyone recommend a good app that can be used on my iPhone now that Strava no longer supports heart rate or cadence sensors? For the moment, as my iPhone is so old (5s), I'd prefer to use it as a "bike computer" for a while before considering a dedicated head unit.

Thanks for any advice you can offer!
 
I can't really help with apps on your phone. My advice is to not use your emergency communication device as a fitness monitor because you want to know it'll be there and working if you need it, so I've never used any apps on it.

In terms of using the heart rate strap for night monitoring, yes, you can, but you'll need something to record the data and analyse it. I would think Polar have a phone app that could record it, but whether it will have the appropriate metrics to work out when you are in deep sleep/R.E.M. sleep etc. I don't know.

Why aren't you interested in a fitness band/watch? Something like the Garmin Vivosmart or Vivosport bands or the Vivomove or Vivoactive watch will do everything you're after, more, and cost not much more than the H9/H10 (possibly less in some cases).
 
Reactions: TonyKnight
Jul 16, 2020
3
0
10
I can't really help with apps on your phone. My advice is to not use your emergency communication device as a fitness monitor because you want to know it'll be there and working if you need it, so I've never used any apps on it.

In terms of using the heart rate strap for night monitoring, yes, you can, but you'll need something to record the data and analyse it. I would think Polar have a phone app that could record it, but whether it will have the appropriate metrics to work out when you are in deep sleep/R.E.M. sleep etc. I don't know.

Why aren't you interested in a fitness band/watch? Something like the Garmin Vivosmart or Vivosport bands or the Vivomove or Vivoactive watch will do everything you're after, more, and cost not much more than the H9/H10 (possibly less in some cases).
Thanks for your thoughts. I'm not doing any cycling at a serious enough level right now to worry about losing my phone as an emergency device, but that is excellent advice.

I have sent an email questioning the sleep analysis capability to Garmin but haven't found a way to contact Polar yet with such a question -- but I'm going to look again right now.

My problem with the sports watch: I have several high-end "real" watches and don't need another to be honest, but more importantly, I have a serious problem with consumables that cannot be maintained for the long term. So, for example, I really like the look and functionality of several of the Garmin watches, but the idea that after a few years the battery will be no longer chargeable makes this a difficult purchase for me (I am a confirmed ecologist/enviornmentalist!). Otherwise, I could accept that the heart-rate monitoring capability isn't quite as accurate as a chest band monitor. But ultimately, this might be the most feasible option if I can get past my objection to the throw-away aspect!
 
No worries. In terms of the phone you never know when you might need it and no-one will be around. If you're confident that you'll not end up in those kind of situations then that's fine but do give it a good think.

I just had a look at the H10 and I don't think it will record pulse oximetry data which is required for the sleep metrics (particularly sleep apnea) so it may be that the watches are the only thing that will work for you. My physiology knowledge of the vascular system isn't great, but it might be that it's not possible to get good arterial readings in that location.

It sounds like we come from a similar stand when it comes to gadgets. I haven't bought a new phone in 15+ years, TV is secondhand and probably 10+ years old, I only ride steel frames as they can be repaired/recycled etc. I do allow myself some leeway with things that monitor my health though (that would include fitness). The healthier I am, the lower my environmental burden can be, so it's a bit of a balancing act. It'll always come down to a personal assessment, but I think it's probably going to have to be a band/watch or nothing at the moment. I have a Vivosmart4 and it seems to work well. It does struggle at higher heart rates and is quite dependent on how tight the band is, but I've compared to a chest strap and it's generally the same/very close.
 
Reactions: TonyKnight
Jul 16, 2020
3
0
10
No worries. In terms of the phone you never know when you might need it and no-one will be around. If you're confident that you'll not end up in those kind of situations then that's fine but do give it a good think.

I just had a look at the H10 and I don't think it will record pulse oximetry data which is required for the sleep metrics (particularly sleep apnea) so it may be that the watches are the only thing that will work for you. My physiology knowledge of the vascular system isn't great, but it might be that it's not possible to get good arterial readings in that location.

It sounds like we come from a similar stand when it comes to gadgets. I haven't bought a new phone in 15+ years, TV is secondhand and probably 10+ years old, I only ride steel frames as they can be repaired/recycled etc. I do allow myself some leeway with things that monitor my health though (that would include fitness). The healthier I am, the lower my environmental burden can be, so it's a bit of a balancing act. It'll always come down to a personal assessment, but I think it's probably going to have to be a band/watch or nothing at the moment. I have a Vivosmart4 and it seems to work well. It does struggle at higher heart rates and is quite dependent on how tight the band is, but I've compared to a chest strap and it's generally the same/very close.
Thanks again. In fact, yesterday my iPhone 5s wouldn't update its IOS and so the phone and mobile data were totally locked out from me. A quick search showed that the phone was no longer supported by Apple... a deeper search showed that there was a problem at Apple's end and eventually I was able to update the phone to be able to work again. However, this is the last update that Apple will offer. So in fact, using it as a big computer (despite the fact that I have to find an alternative to Strava to record sensors) will be a very cheap option for me as I'll be fixing the screen of my daughter's iPhone 7 and use that for communications! Your point is very well taken about emergency communications. BUT I actually think I might just buy a relatively cheap bike computer if I can find one that sends automatic message in the event of a fall or crash!

Regarding the chest band, I did finally get hold of someone at Polar who kindly told me that indeed it is not capable of the heart monitoring necessary for sleep analysis. So I really have no choice but to look at a smartwatch such as the Forerunner 735 which I can get for just over 300 euros. Still a throwaway in a few years but my health is definitely the highest priority for me at this time! Glad to hear that others share the ethos of keeping things working and not just replacing them unless totally necessary! I actually have used automatic watches for decades as I don't want the problem of changing batteries, the ecological crap associated with them, and in the event that satellite communications one day no longer work for civilians (yes, i can imagine such a scenario)... if I can figure out a solution to my eye glasses that will be something!

So now to find the best value sports watch that works for my needs (that Vivosmart 4 is nice but I think still too expensive here in France). Then to actually start using my bike again to hopefully add a few more years to my life expectancy! Good luck with yours :)
 

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