Why is My Garmin Body Battery Low? [Tips to Bump It Up]

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The Garmin Body Battery is a feature introduced in 2018 that can be disturbing when noticing that your energy level is low. The Body Battery is compatible with all of the recent Garmin smartwatches and fitness bands, including the recently released Garmin Vivsosmart 5.

Making the most of the sensors and activity tracking features, the Garmin Body Battery is like an energy gauge that will let you know if today is the right day to train for a 10K or if you would better stay in front of the TV and relax and recharge your batteries. In that sense, the Garmin Body Battery is very similar to the Fitbit Readiness Score. One of the key differences is that accessing the readiness score requires a paid premium subscription for Fitbit but comes free in the Garmin ecosystem.

How does Garmin Measure Body Battery?

The Body Battery provides insights into your energy levels. It combines several metrics, such as activity, stress, and Heart Rate Variability, which are processed by the FirstBeat Analytics engine to end up with a score ranging from 0 to 100. The higher the score, the more energy you will have; hopefully, you will feel better.

Heart Rate Variability (HRV) gained tremendous interest in recent years to understand the relationship between the parasympathetic and sympathetic branches of the autonomic nervous system. I know it sounds complex, but it is really easy.  

In a nutshell, the heart will not beat like a metronome, and differences of a couple of microseconds will appear between two consecutive heartbeats. These small shifts are under the control of what is called the Autonomic Nervous System, which is the mirror of our body. When tired or stressed, the HRV will decrease. The opposite is true. When well-rested, physically and mentally relaxed, the HRV will increase. 

The Garmin Body Battery will act as a longitudinal indicator that will evolve continuously depending on your overall physical and mental status.

The Body Battery is accessible on your device, in the Garmin Connect App., or even on the Garmin Connect Website. For example, yesterday, I used 40 points of body battery and recharged for the same amount! How do I feel? I’m tired for sure…and I will gladly lay on my bed for a nap to charge me up.

What could explain why my Garmin Body Battery is so low? Let’s dive into the mysteries of the body battery.

How Accurate is the Body Battery?

My IT Professor used to say “Garbage In, Garbage Out” a lot when looking at my algorithms. Is the Garmin Body Battery reliable or even valid?

Garmin Smartwatches are not cheap, and the company built its reputation on the quality of its sensors and devices. Even though I do not trust the blood oxygen sensor of the Garmins, when it comes to heart rate and activities, the reputation of Garmin is flawless. 

When considering the partnership of Garmin with FirstBeat Analytics, one of the leaders when it comes to data analysis, we can be reasonably confident that a lot of thoughts went behind the Body Battery development.

How Is the Body Battery Impacted (positively and negatively)?

The Body Battery is a complex metric that combines several parameters such as the quality of sleep, the overall activity, the stress level, and the Heart Rate variability. Therefore, there is no single answer to explain a low Body Battery, but different behaviors that we will explore.

Did You Exercise Too Much?

Exercising is excellent, but exercising beyond your limits may be more harmful than beneficial. It will put a toll on your body’s energy—no need to run a marathon to feel tired. A busy lifestyle made of rushing to the office, buying groceries, picking up the kids, and running after time will impact your body’s battery. 

We all try to make a lot of a single day, and even the fact of going bowling with friends at the end of a work day may impact how energetic you feel.

Did You Sleep Enough? 

The National Sleep Foundation advise sleeping between 7 and 9 hours. Easier say than done. I do not remember the last time I had such a long night. It sounds obvious, but the more you sleep, the better your body battery. So when feeling low, consider having a nap. The bedtime routine is also critical for improving your sleep score and body battery. Try to build a bedtime routine and stick with a reasonable schedule as much as possible.

Sleep quality will also impact how you benefit from a night’s rest. For example, if you slept the recommended number of hours but somehow feel drained in the morning, check your check stages, and you may find out that your sleep had not been so restful as what you could have expected. 

Did You Party Last Night?

You will be surprised to know that alcohol dramatically affects Heart Rate Variability. I experienced it first hand after a long night out with friends. Alcohol will stress your body as much as your mind. So if you wake up drained and with a headache, I suggest you do not check your body battery. You know the answer, and there is no need for additional stress.

Did you wear your device long enough? 

We are all unique, and your Garmin device will need to learn about your physiological parameters. For example, if you notice that the Body battery gets stuck around 5%, it may be that your device is new or that you stopped wearing it for a couple of days. If this is the case, you may need to wear it for a few days before getting a reliable Body Battery value.

Do you feel sick?

As we mentioned, the body battery relies heavily on the analysis of the Heart Rate Variability. The HRV is like the mirror of your body. Any mental or physical stress will impact the resulting value. So if you feel a bit sick or under the radar, your device will detect the changes in the HRV and ultimately impact your body battery.

The Garmin Low Body Battery Checklist

If you want to understand how your behavior and lifestyle impact your Garmin Body Battery, find below an excellent table from Garmin’s website that summarizes the positive and negative factors to consider when your body battery is abnormally low.

Factors Affecting the Body Battery

External Physical factors

- Alcohol

- Excessive Physical Activity

- High Temperature
- Bright Light/Loud noises

Internal Physical Factors

- Disease

- Pain

- Dehydration

- Exhaustion

Positive Emotions

- Anticipation

- Exhilaration
- Thrill/Excitement
- Joy

Negative Emotions

- Anxiety
- Fear
- Sorrow
- Being Overwhelmed

With discipline and healthy habits, the Garmin Body Battery can be a metric to consider to plan your life and exercise the right way.