Saturday, November 7, 2015

Vivosmart HR review - intensity minutes part ii

I seemed to have maligned intensity minutes prematurely in my previous post.

From reading the Vivosmart HR (VHR) subforum on Garmin forums, I learned from a supermoderator that:

1) Intensity minutes can be triggered by arm movement/heart rate increases
2) There is no magical formula for how fast, but it requires significant heart rate increase (70% of maximum was one theory offered) to get the meter running.
3) People have earned intensity minutes on stationary bikes.  

I tried 15 minutes on a bike earlier this week, getting my HR averaging 118 to a max of 139, but failed to earn any minutes.

20 minutes on the arc elliptical earned me minutes, with an average HR of 108 and a maximum of 139 the same day.

So, either the bike session was too short, non-arm movement activity requires higher heart rate to trigger counting of intensity minutes compared to arm swinging like walking or running or elliptical, or...

Today, I did a bike session that was more intense.  I got average up to 121, max of 148, and did a bunch of hard one minute intervals thrown in.



And voila - I earned vigorous intensity minutes (vigorous are given 2:1 to moderate minutes according to Garmin Connect) -- I got 55 intensity minutes for 30 minutes of stationary biking - not quite 2:1 but close.  

Mr. Science was intrigued - exactly what is the point where it kicks the intensity meter to the point where it starts counting?  And where do vigorous minutes kick in, vs moderate minutes?

So I got on the treadmill and started a slow walk - around 2.5 mph, keeping my hr below 90. Even after 10+ minutes, the IM didn't start counting -- I started and it remained on 391 minutes. But at around 11:21, it started flashing (indicating the meter is either ready to count or actually counting)



Flash on.




Flash off.


But by after 14 minutes, the IM finally showed progress.  It hit 411, up from 391 (20 IMs in 14:40 minutes, meaning there was some counting of vigorous minutes in a walk that would not be considered vigorous by many of you).

At 26 minutes, the IM hadn't made much progress -- 414 after 26 minutes.  



A manual and VHR pulse check showed I was bouncing around in the 70s and 80s, so I decided to take things for a spin at minute 29:00 and do 20 at a run pace -- the VHR showed around a 7:55 pace, but it was definitely over 8:00 per mi by feel.  

I got my pulse going 125+ for the run but as high as 141 by the end, earning 28 IMs for a 20 minute run -- around a 1.5 ratio, so it though I was doing vigorous minutes for almost half the run which I would say is about right -- I did have to step off to tie my laces at one point.




To answer my questions:  I think that you need to plan on 10-15 minutes of walking at a brisk pace, 10+ minutes of running, or around 15 minutes of biking to trigger intensity minutes.  You don't have to start an activity for this to happen -- VHR will be activated from arm swing and/or increased H.  And for vigorous minutes to kick in, I think the supermoderator's comment that you need to be north of 70% maximum hr is probably right.



And day three of charge #2 comes to an end with still about 1/3rd of the battery life left -- on daily activity creation or hr broadcasting, with notifications, with weather screen, and fairly constant wrist play.  Get your minds out of the gutter.





 Back to resting (HR), even though Sunday is long run day.


See newer post: Intensity Minutes on a treadmill walk

16 comments:

  1. Have you tested accuracy with it in a pocket or on ankle? I can't wear a watch at work but don't want to miss out on 8 hours of steps etc. Cheers

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  2. Sorry no. But I'd think only ankle would work given the hr features. Otherwise try the Vivosmart classic non hr model.

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  3. Thanks for the info. Very helpful. I was having the same issues and disappointments with intensity minutes.

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  4. Thanks, I have a stationary bike at home, can't wait to trigger those IMs :D

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  5. I have worn my vivosmart since Christmas. I have done 30 minute stints on my elliptical, 30 minute brisk walks, a bit of the NHS couch25k and still no intensity minutes! I am an unfit 61 year old and trying very hard but can't work out why I don't get any intensity minutes.

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    1. I spoke with Garmin yesterday about intensity minutes, and the support guy said this problem is a "known issue" that they're working on fixing. He said he couldn't say when it would be fixed, but it's a priority.

      I work my a** off in the gym for usually 4-5 hours per week, cardio + weights, and I get zero intensity minutes or very few.

      Overall, I like my Vivosmart but not as well as the Bodymedia device it replaced. Very ticked off that Bodymedia killed the software essential to making that device run. It registered *everything* but it also used four different methods to track activity and calories (including galvanic skin response).

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    2. My problem was the reverse on Monday. I did very little and was awarded 150 intensity minutes. Garmin also said they are working on it. I am VincentEW1966 add me on the Garmin connect app.

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    3. i did 90 minutes in the gym earlier which only included 20 mins slow cardio and a weight session and my heart took a while to come down. The stupid thing has given me 315 intensity minutes and informing me I've burnt through 4356 calories today. Not really very accurate at all.

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  6. Had my first IM frustration yesterday after a few weeks of seemingly accurate IM triggering. Swam HARD for 30 minutes, 1600 yards, average HR something like 140, and...zero intensity minutes! The connect app doesn't even register an activity despite the device itself having it saved. Come on Garmin, don't be as disappointing as my old Garmin swimwatch was.

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  8. I too am trying to figure out the moderate and vigorous heart rate zones. It must be age related as that seems how every exercise heart rate zone seems to be calculated. I figure for me (I'm 38) i need to keep my heart rate over approximately 135 for ten minutes or more for so for it to count as intensity minutes, that's 75% of my maximum heart rate (182) if you use the age calculation. But i think that is high for the low end to be considered moderate. Has anyone tried changing the heart rate zones in settings, user settings in the connect ap? I wish they'd label the zones moderate or vigorous, etc, so it's clear what the IM feature is looking for!!

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    1. I am having the same issue-I have no problem with running or riding where I get into my zone 2 and higher, but we just did a 4 day backpacking trip and I was curious. We were steady and slow, but gained a lot of elevation. So i know my HR was typically only in zone 1 or 2, and our calorie expenditure was high, but over 4 days, my vivoactive did not register ANY intensity minutes. Seems a bit strange that Zone 1 doesn't seem to count at all...

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  9. I too am trying to figure out the moderate and vigorous heart rate zones. It must be age related as that seems how every exercise heart rate zone seems to be calculated. I figure for me (I'm 38) i need to keep my heart rate over approximately 135 for ten minutes or more for so for it to count as intensity minutes, that's 75% of my maximum heart rate (182) if you use the age calculation. But i think that is high for the low end to be considered moderate. Has anyone tried changing the heart rate zones in settings, user settings in the connect ap? I wish they'd label the zones moderate or vigorous, etc, so it's clear what the IM feature is looking for!!

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  10. Nice discussion here, you are doing a great job. i was looking for this information. i found it on your page it's really amazing. runnium

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  11. I am frustrated by IM inconsistency. I walk the dogs every day. There is a 15 min climb that gets my HR up to 145 bpm. Only twice in the last 2 weeks have I gotten IM for this. I went to the gym for mixed indoor cardio twice The first time I got 110 IM. Yesterday I did the same thing, and got no IM. What is this thing's algorithm?

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  12. Today I had 7K of running (around 35 min) and for that I think that I got something like 400 intensity minutes (100 min on every 1-1.5 hours) LOL! It is good to see that it is not just my device fucked up but that it is probably software error... Device Vivoactive HR....

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