A Journey Beyond the Numbers of Wellbeing

Tero Myllymäki

Tero MyllymäkiHead of Physiology Research, Firstbeat

Firstbeat Life

Let’s put it straight. Interpreting physiological measurement data requires time and expertise, whether it’s our own data or our clients’ data. We measure heart rate variability and body movements, from which complex technical processes analyze the body’s state and various variables, compiling the information into numbers and points. We measure different days influenced by many internal and external factors. However, understanding why we obtained certain results requires interpretation of graphs and curves. Ultimately, the goal is to understand how we are doing and what aspects are important for our well-being. At the end, we may be uncertain about whether there is cause for concern or which areas we should focus on if we want to improve our well-being.

Since its inception, Firstbeat has aimed to make the use of physiological measurement data as easy as possible for promoting health and performance. Firstbeat has been a pioneer in the world of wearable devices, and our innovations have enabled reliable measurement of stress. Stress measurement has evolved from interpreting heart rate curves and heart rate variability to describing well-being in points and numbers. However, we felt that this approach did not make the interpretation of results simple and accessible enough. We wanted to bring factors that affect well-being closer to people’s everyday lives – into easily understandable facts and concrete actions.

With the new Wellness Factors reporting, Firstbeat Life service providers gain a clear overview of their clients’ well-being, which is articulated into a language that transforms coaching into everyday actions. This leads to even higher-quality coaching for clients. The new view reveals the well-being themes in the client’s life that may currently require attention and those strengths on which well-being can confidently be built.

The Wellness Factors list 25 essential factors related to well-being and health and interpret the client’s situation regarding these factors. We have chosen these factors for reporting because they represent key cornerstones of well-being and healthy lifestyles – and they have a strong scientific foundation. In this way, we bring science-based confidence to well-being actions. The new reporting view indicates whether the impact of these factors on the client’s well-being is positive, neutral, or potentially negative.

Key Findings highlight the client’s strengths and areas for improvement and articulate them in an easily understandable format. Interpretation is also more reliable because the analysis of well-being factors can examine results from several measurements using the last six days from the preceding three-month period.

Instead of talking, for example, about sleep score as a single entity, Key Findings delve into the reasons behind restorative impact of sleep. Is the sleep schedule regular or does going to bed too late impair recovery? Does vigorous exercise late at night reduce the restorative effect of sleep? Does recovery begin soon after going to bed, or would the person benefit from a moment of calm before going to bed? Instead of points, Key Findings talk about everyday matters that each of us can influence with our choices.

Comprehensive well-being consists no only of measurable data but also of thoughts, feelings, and experiences. The new view of the results considers the significance of both measured, objective, and experienced, subjective well-being in finding a balanced life. The themes relate to factors crucial for balancing stress and workload with recovery: resilience, effects of stress, sleep, physical activity, fitness, work-related factors, self-assessments, and heart function.

The reporting has been developed in collaboration with the University of Tampere and is the result of over two years of development work. The new reporting complements the current Firstbeat Life results and highlights important well-being themes concisely, significantly facilitating the utilization of physiological data. The reporting also enables early intervention in well-being and health-related challenges, preventively. With our comprehensive reporting, Firstbeat Life service providers can help their clients identify their strengths and areas for development, make lifestyle changes step by step, achieve their own well-being potential, and embark on their journey feeling well and able to enjoy life.

Tero Myllymäki

Tero Myllymäki Head of Physiology Research, Firstbeat

Mr. Myllymäki is responsible for physiological analytics development and research collaboration at Firstbeat. He has academic background and has previously been working as a researcher in multidisciplinary expert teams combining physiology, psychology, and technology. His goal is to seek innovative solutions for providing meaningful and actionable feedback on wellbeing, lifestyle, and performance in everyday life. Mr. Myllymäki has a Master’s degree in exercise physiology from the University of Jyväskylä.

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