I already owned a Garmin Fenix 5 before I purchased an Oura ring. I purchased the Oura ring because of its insights into HRV, sleep, and respiratory rates. At the time, Garmin Fenix 5 wasn’t tracking sleep. Now they track sleep which you can sleep in a similar post I did on the differences between Garmin and Oura in regards to sleep performance.
First, why are we interested in respiratory rates? Oura provides a good post: https://ouraring.com/track-respiration-rate-trends/
Like EPOC measurements around “Post Exercise Oxygen Consumption”
Remember that respiratory rate, as all body signal metrics, is highly individual. So, as long as your nocturnal respiratory rate stays within the scale considered normal, don’t compare your values with others but with your own baseline.
“On the other hand, your average respiratory rate can jump temporarily up when you have a cold, for example. Moreover, it can stay relatively high for some time after the actual symptoms have disappeared, meaning that your body is still recovering from the illness.”
Additionally, we will cover PulseOX which Oura doesn’t do but the new Garmin Fenix 6 does. Why is this important:
OSA (Obstructive Sleep Apnea), measuring must be made via oxygen saturation and nasal airflow tracking.
Second, remember “trends” hold the inherent value of these personal datasets and insights around your human performance.
Third, correlate your data to events to learn metric dependencies (activity vs. HRV, etc).
Fourth, make behavioral adjustments (i.e. habits, better recovery, mediation, purposeful and intention efforts.)
I find that it has a fantastic insight into stress levels. Holding your breath and compensating when you have held your breath. Furthermore, if your nervous system has taken a hit recently.
Background: Haven’t been physically active over the last 3 days but involved with a fair amount of mental stress. Practiced meditation and conscious breathing on November 5, 2019.
Here are some Oura measurements around respiratory rate:
Did a fair amount of cycling and exercising including Zwifting. See Week 43 to Week 44.
Overall, the month was a big push to submit an application and involved lots of preparation with minimal dosages of exercise and regular daily meditation.
So clearly, Oura is tracking this. Now on to the Garmin.
Garmin Respiratory Rate:
Garmin seems to record a lower respiratiory rate in general from the Oura. Oura seems to be consistently measuring in the 14-15 breaths/min range. Whereas Garmin is measuring in 12-13 breaths/min.
The key fitness takeaway needs to be trends. I show below the 1d, 7d, and 4week data. There isn’t currently much data due to the fact that my Fenix 6x is fairly new and old Garmin Fenix 5 didn’t measure either Respiratory or PulseOx data.
Of critical importance, Garmin is measuring A HIGHER respiratory rate during sleep than awake. This seems suspect.
Moving from respiratory rate to PulseOx data. PulseOx is probably less relevant than respiratory rate especially when measuring stress and EPOC. Higher Respiratory rates would indicate the body’s desire to feed it more oxygen or eliminate CO2.
Oura doesn’t currently even measure PulseOx. Garmin has introduced the measurement due in part to managing Sleep Apena conditions. Typical numbers won’t fluctuate much between 95 – 100%. In addition to the health metric, PulseOx is used for mountain climbers and adventurers who are going through a acclimatization.
Therefore, again looking into the value of this metric, TRENDS are probably the biggest indicator of the body’s ability to saturate it’s blood with necessary oxygen.
Looking at graphic below from Garmin Connect, notice the nighttime measurement and specifically during early morning. Could be an indicator of LESS restful night sleep filled with stress/REM. – GOOD TO CORRELATE IN FUTURE DATASETS.
Therefore, takeaways are:
- Increase Respiratory Rate indicates remaining body stress
- Garmin and Oura measure different values. Garmin measured higher during sleep.
- High Respiratory Rate can indicate EPOC values.
My next post will include Oura and Garmin’s approaches to BREATHWORK.
Oura – “Moments”
Garmin – “Breathwork”
Thanks for reading.