One of the most discussed features of the Apple watchOS 4 was the fact that it enabled the Apple Watch to actually alert you when your heart rate seemed on the higher side. Now, we have had devices that record heart rates for quite a while now – there are a number of fitness bands out there that can measure your heart rate. But for most people, this has just been data – a truckload of figures that one needed to show to a doctor to make real sense. Yes, every one had a rough idea of where one’s heartbeat should be (the further away from 100 beats a minute, the better, is a rough rule of thumb), but well, one does not always realize when one’s heartbeat is surging…and even if one does, one does not exactly turn to one’s wrist to verify it. And then again, one’s heart rate rises several times a day for very healthy reasons – while running or working out for instance. How does one exactly know one has a reason for some concern?

Which is why Apple’s idea of delivering alerts in case of increased heart rates seemed like such a good idea. The Apple Watch would use the heart rate sensors to measure your heart rate and its other sensors to work out whether you were active or not. The alert would go out only if the app sensed that your heart rate was high for a period of ten minutes AND you were relatively inactive.

I have now had three occasions when a gentle buzz on my wrist has informed me that my heart rate is on the higher side. Fortunately, it has never reached levels of significant alarm, but each such notification has managed to make me realize that I perhaps need to slow down a little and be, if nothing else, then a little on the careful side. What’s more, on a couple of occasions, cross-checking with more elaborate equipment showed that the Apple Watch’s sensor had got the rating relatively correct and that this was not a case of a heart rate sensor gone crazy – you will be surprised at how often that can happen.

ehr-sample

No, I am not qualified to comment on how useful these Elevated Heart Rate alerts actually are in medical terms. But then, it is not really meant for doctors. It is a handy tool for letting you know when your heart is in overdrive. And that can only help.

In case you are wondering how to get Elevated Heart Rate alerts on your Apple Watch (it works with all Apple Watches except the original one, evidently because of hardware limitations), here is how you go about it:

  1. Open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone.
  2. Go to Heart Rate
  3. You will see a screen saying Heart Rate Notifications, below which will be written “Elevated Heart Rate.” Select this.
  4. You can now select whether to keep the Heart Rate Notifications off, or specify the heart rate at which the watch will alert you. I had selected 120 beats per minute (120 BPM).

EHR-settings

That’s all there is to it. Hope you never get one of the alerts. They can be disconcerting. On the flip side, hey, they prove that the feature actually works.

Now, I need to get back to those breathing exercises, perhaps.

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