In The (Heart Rate) Zone

Updated: Nov 13, 2020

OXYGEN Gaming UK is on a mission to improve the physical and mental health of aspiring esports athletes by giving them the tools to monitor, track and improve health for improved in-game performance.

Delivering value to aspiring esports athletes is a long-term iterative process that means talking to our users frequently and placing our MVP in their hands to understand how to provide an optimal service for in-game performance improvement.

With that in mind, today we are learning more about Heart Rate Zones. Heart Rate Zone information is available on the premium version of the world's largest cycling and running community, Strava.

I personally use a Garmin Vivoactive 3 and via mobile applications Garmin Connect and Strava, track, upload, learn from and improve my daily cycling and running performance. An essential component of daily improvement rests on an understanding of what my heart is doing.

Heart Rate Zones can indicate how hard you are training. We all have a minimum, resting and maximum heart rate. A simple way to define zones is as a percentage of your maximum heart rate.

There are 5 zones, as shown on our mobile mock-up:

Beats per minute (BPM)

1) 0-112 BPM

2) 112-148 BPM

3) 148-166 BPM

4) 166-184 BPM

5) > 184 BPM

From the Heart Rate Zone analysis, it is clear that this particular exercise meant spending a long time in Zone 2 - over an hour at a moderate intensity, with the majority of the exercise spent comfortably above Zone 1.

Depending on my objective, I might want to get up and out of Zone 1 and into Zone 2 faster, or ensure that I remain in Zone 2 and don't push too hard and avoid hitting Zone 5 (this would be the case if I wanted to complete a marathon, without honing in on a specific time).

We hope to enable esports players to identify similar actionable health-related insights using a combination of health and gaming data.

As a test project, I recorded two gaming sessions as a 'walk' using my Garmin Vivoactive and posted to the OXYGEN Strava Club.

The Heart Rate Zones are a premium feature on Strava but we can view average and maximum heart rates recorded during a game of Apex Legends and Call of Duty Warzone.

Apex Legends

Average heart rate 73 BPM, Maximum 96 BPM

Call of Duty Warzone

Average heart rate 72 BPM, Maximum 99 BPM


The point to note here is that the heart rate ranges are within Zone One only. This might be in part because the activity is being recorded as a walk, or the intensity of the exercise is low versus a tough hill climb for example.

This is further proof that using Strava as a platform to assist with the improvement of my in-game performance is not fit for purpose. It was never designed for this but even with a hacky approach it is not possible to draw meaningful insights.

However, variety of training and exercise spent in different zones is essential to improve overall fitness. An understanding of what's missing from your gaming sessions is important, as well as adjusting these Zones to draw meaningful insights from in-game performance (this may mean lowering, with bands fit for measuring time spent in different zones when gaming but also enable you to achieve training variety or incorporating high intensity work-outs into your esports training regime to fill in what's missing).

It's an interesting work in progress but we believe that for gamers to consistently be in the zone, a consideration of Heart Rate Zones is going to be essential.

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