Digitized Physiology and Science Background

Firstbeat’s products and innovations are built on over 20 years of research. Areas of investigation include physiology, psychology and psychophysiology.

Digitized Physiology

The heart is our most important muscle for preserving life. Constantly changing, it adapts to our body’s internal and external needs. Examining the details of these changes reveals what happens behind the scenes in our body. Placed in the context of our research and modeling techniques, they form the basis behind Firstbeat Insights.

Firstbeat examines the data rich details of the heart’s adjustments to create feedback that helps people reach higher performance goals and improve personal well-being. By this way, the data is turned into rich, valuable, and understandable feedback that helps to perform better, make the correct training and coaching decisions, and to improve wellbeing and health.

The magic of converting physiological data into actionable information requires a unique digital model. Firstbeat’s process uses heart rate variability (HRV) data combined with advanced mathematical and signal processing methods to document an individual’s autonomic nervous system regulation. Starting from heartbeat data, the Firstbeat analytic engine computes and creates a digital model of the human body describing key physiological processes such as oxygen consumption, energy expenditure, excess post exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), as well as stress and recovery reactions.

To make this possible, Firstbeat has developed ways of utilizing HRV in real-life conditions, which are not stationary and stable, but rather dynamic and complex. Consequently, Firstbeat is able to provide a comprehensive view over physiological reactions, and to analyze and provide feedback for example on effectiveness of training, recovery status, fitness level as well as lifestyle-related aspects such as stress, recovery, and physical activity.

Our Research Legacy

Firstbeat began as a spin-off from studies conducted in KIHU (Research Laboratory for Olympic Sports, Finland) and the University of Jyväskylä, both well-known and internationally highly appreciated by their top-level expertise in sport sciences.

A legacy of rigorous investigation into autonomic nervous system functionality, exercise physiology, psychophysiology and psychology provides the scientific basis for Firstbeat Insights. We are a data-driven company committed to producing insights based on research conducted with real physiological data. The datasets we use in our robust research and development process include thousands of laboratory assessments of essential physiological signals such as respiration, energy expenditure, and maximal oxygen consumption. The validity of our insights is strengthened by data collected in over 100,000 real-life field assessments.



Comprehensive Research Background

Firstbeat’s R&D work has covered the following fields:

  • Indirect heartbeat based measurement of autonomic nervous system function: quantitative methods, laboratory validation of ANS markers
  • Endurance sports: training, performance and recovery from exercise
  • Athlete overtraining: physiology, measurement and prediction
  • Laboratory stress measurement: Psychophysiology of stress and burn-out
  • Worksite heartbeat based stress measurement methods: Applied field studies
  • Mathematical modeling of complex physiological signals

Firstbeat solutions can be used for basic and applied scientific research.