How to check your Cardio Recovery scores on your Apple iPhone

Apple’s Health app has many bells and whistles that often go unnoticed by many users. An important metric that you should watch is your Cardio Recovery Score (also called your heart rate recovery or HRR.)

While measuring cardio recovery is traditionally done in a medical setting using a variety of sensors and a treadmill or indoor stationary bicycle, an Apple Watch combined with Apple’s Health app can now give you an estimated cardio recovery score via a unique algorithm.

Related reading:

What is Apple’s cardio recovery in the Health app?

Cardio Recovery score or heart rate recovery is the difference between your heart rate at the end of your workout and one minute after. 

For example, if you end your workout with a heart rate of 150 beats per minute and after one minute of rest your heart rate is at 120 beats per minute, your recovering heart rate is 30 beats per minute.

In general, the more your heart rate drops during this recovery period, the better.

Typically this is measured at your doctor’s office using expensive equipment BUT your Apple Watch can now estimate Cardio recovery scores when you work out. This is measured on the Apple Watch when you work out outdoors using certain activity modes including outdoor walking, outdoor running, and hiking.

And the good news is that most of us can get this score. You do not need to reach a peak heart rate zone to get an estimated cardio recovery score!

How to check Cardio Recovery score on your iPhone 

The Cardio Recovery score has been made available in iOS 16 and watchOS 9.Cardio Recovery Score on Apple iPhone and Watch

Here is how you can locate this metric on your iPhone.

  1. Open the Health App on your iPhone.
  2. Tap on Browse tab (right most tab on the bottom of the screen.)
  3. Next, choose Heart.
  4. Scroll down and locate Cardio Recovery and tap on it.
  5. This shows you your daily, weekly and monthly cardio recovery scores.

Significance of Cardio Recovery

What is the importance of studying the cardiovascular system during recovery from exercise? 

According to researchers, your heart rate recovery following the completion of your workout has been established as a predictor of coronary artery disease.

Experts think HRR (heart-rate recovery) reflects the balance of three key metrics:

  1. The reactivation of the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS.)
  2. The withdrawal of the sympathetic nervous system (SNS.)
  3. And possibly, the circulating catecholamines. 

Cardio recovery can also serve as an important biomarker of aging and mortality

Heart Health Metrics on Apple iPhone and Apple Watch

Apart from the heart rate recovery metric, you should keep an eye on your heart rate variability. The higher the HRV, the better your body is able to take on stress. 

The other metric that Apple highlights is the Cardio Fitness score. This is not to be confused with Cardio Recovery score.

A higher Cardio Fitness score (VO2 max) or cardiorespiratory fitness score usually indicated a higher level of Cardio Fitness and endurance.

Another key metric is the Resting Heart Rate.

An uptick or higher trend on this metric could mean that you may be falling sick. Unless you have a medical condition contributing to a higher resting heart rate, you can lower it by regular exercise, losing weight, cutting out caffeine and other stimulants, and reducing stress.

In Summary,

Look for a favorable trend in Cardio Recovery score, higher HRV and higher Cardio Fitness score when evaluating your cardiovascular health on your iPhone’s Health App.

What are some of the metrics that you keep a close eye on? Please sound off using the comments.

I am a technologist with years of experience with Apple and wearOS products and have a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science. In my day job, I advise fortune 500 companies with their digital transformation strategies and also consult with numerous digital health startups in an advisory capacity. I'm VERY interested in exploring the digital health&fitness-tech evolution and keep a close eye on patents, FDA approvals, strategic partnerships and developments happening in the wearables and digital health sector. When I'm not writing or presenting, I run with my Apple Watch or Fossil Gen 5 LTE and keep a close eye on my HRV and other recovery metrics.

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