Garmin Body Battery is just one of the many new software features Garmin has rolled out to its sports watches, smartwatches and fitness trackers over the last few years.
While sports tracking remains at the core, it's also looked at how you can use that wearable to get a better sense of just how you're feeling.
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That's really where Body Battery comes into play. Garmin calls it an energy monitor and it's designed to give you a better sense of how you're using your body's resources to make the most of your day. It can also offer big physical and mental benefits by seeking to achieve a better balance between energy levels and recovery time.
It has a simple goal, but definitely needs digging into to really understand how it works, what data fuels it and what might cause Battery levels to pick up and drop off.
We've been using Garmin's Body Battery Energy Monitor on a host of different devices since it first launched, so we've taken the time to break down exactly what you need to know about this potentially very useful feature.
What is Garmin Body Battery exactly?
The best way to think about Garmin's Body Battery feature is that it's wants to tell you whether your body is in good shape to take on a physically and mentally demanding day, or it might be worth keeping things chilled and saving that tough workout for another day.
It's a way of keeping check of your energy levels essentially, with Garmin providing a Body Battery score from 1-100 you can view on the watch and in the companion Connect app. The higher the number, the better the energy levels you have to play with.
As long as you wear your compatible Garmin watch or fitness tracker 24/7, it will be able to monitor when Body Battery is charged and drained throughout the day. It's going to be useful to look at first thing in the morning and it can also be useful to look at after you've done something in your day that could have a physical or mental impact on your body.
How is Garmin's Body Battery generated?
Garmin is looking at a range of different things here. It's paying attention to the time you exercise, but it's also looking at your stress data and the time you sleep. It's tracking heart rate variability, stress and your tracked activity to determine that Body Battery score out of 100.
You'll also see a number that represents your Body Battery being charged and also being drained. This is showing you the number of points you've recovered against how many Battery points were used during your day. The idea is that these numbers should be similar to indicate a good balance between your activity and recovery time.
Which Garmin watches support it?
If you've picked up a new Garmin watch recently, then there's a strong chance you've got support for Garmin's Body Battery feature. In fact, the Garmin Vivosmart 4, which launched back in 2018, was the device that debuted the feature and since then pretty much every wearable Garmin has released supports it. Here's a selection of the types of Garmin watches and trackers that offer it:
- Garmin Fenix 7 and 6 series
- Garmin Epix (Gen 2)
- Garmin Forerunner 45, 55, 245, 745 and 945
- Garmin Instinct series
- Garmin Venu 2 and Venu SQ
- Garmin Vivomove series
How do you view Body Battery data on your watch?
Once you've established you have a device that supports generating Body Battery insights, where exactly can you see that information.
The first place you can look is on your watch. Garmin includes a widget glance, which will let you see your latest body battery data. If you can't see the widget glance, you may need to add it to your screen. To do that:
- Scroll down to the bottom of your widget glances until you see Edit
- Scroll down until you see the + sign and Add
- You should find the Body Battery widget there, which you can tap to add to your feed of glances
With the widget, you can see your Body Battery number along with a + number to indicate where you've charged your battery, and a minus number where you Battery has drained.
When you expand that widget you can view a graph to see where your Body Battery peaks and drops and you can also see a secondary screen comparing it to your daily stress data. This can help to let you see how stressful moments on your day may impact on changes in Body Battery numbers.
How do you view Body Battery data in the app?
The second way to view Body Battery data is to go to the Garmin Connect app. It's here where you'll be able to see trends over the day, weeks and over a month.
You'll also be able to see the daily timeline a little more clearly on that bigger screen to view where the Body Battery charged up and was drained.
To view Body Battery in the Garmin Connect app:
- Go to My Day and tap the three lines in the corner of the screen to bring down the dropdown menu
- Look for Health Stats and tap. You should find the Body Battery tab on that list, which you can tap to open.
You can also view Body Battery at a glance on the My Day screen as a widget. If it's not there already, scroll down the page until you see Edit My Day. From there you can add it as a widget to sit with your other key stats.
How do you charge your Body Battery?
Knowing what can influence your Body Battery whether for good or bad, is important to know.
We'll start with what can help it to charge it and the key thing here is sleep. So taking your watch to bed and tracking a good quality night of sleep will help charge that battery up.
To achieve that good sleep, Garmin suggests avoiding things like exercising late or drinking alcohol or caffeine before you jump into bed. Even things like tossing and turning and having an interrupted sleep can impact on the Battery number you see the next day.
It's important to point out here that what you eat doesn't influence that Body Battery number.
Garmin surveys the quality of that recovery time with the help of measuring heart rate variability and seeing an increase in that HRV as a sign that the body is recovering and charging.
What can cause Body Battery to drop?
In terms of what causes that Body Battery to drain, this is driven by things like physical activity and also looks at stress and heart rate. While physical activity will inevitably have a drain on energy levels, elevated heart rate and high stress levels, which is fuelled by heart rate variability measurements, can impact on that drain. Getting sick or having a stressful, busy day can also cause that number to drop,
Garmin also suggests things like bright light and loud noises, dehydration and exhaustion can have an impact on your overall Body Battery number.
It's important to remember that you can have both positive and negative stress-related moments and emotions, and both can contribute to the change in numbers you see on your watch and the app.
While exercise can drain that battery, particularly higher intensity exercise, if your overall fitness level starts to improve, it represents your body being able to better manage stress and working out without feeling entirely drained. So you should in theory see a better balance in Battery data as your fitness improves, which can be gauged by your improving VO2 Max. If you want a breakdown about that, check out our big VO2 Max guide.