Oura’s mission is to guide you to understand how your body responds to your activities, daily choices and rhythms, instead of just measuring individual metrics like steps or heart rate. This mission puts readiness into the very heart of Oura, and that’s why we want to give you an introduction into what readiness is, how you can measure it, and how the Oura ring and app can help you to prepare yourself so that you are ready – whatever the challenge.
What do we talk about when we say readiness? Readiness is our ability to perform at our best, both mentally and physically.
Readiness has a lot to do with how recovered we are, and in the end, with our overall health. The signals of our autonomic nervous system, such as Resting Heart Rate (RHR) and Heart Rate Variability (HRV), are among the most common indicators of readiness. They show us how our bodies respond to the demands of our daily life. If our load and recovery are in balance, our readiness is doing just fine.
Readiness isn’t static. No one can perform at their best 24/7/365 because our mental and physical readiness varies from day to day. Some days are perfect for challenging our bodies and minds, whereas on other days it might be wiser to focus on taking it easy.
So far we’ve stated that readiness has to do with our recovery and health and it’s not static. But how can we measure readiness? And not only that: how can you measure your readiness?
We’re all unique – in our lifestyle, fitness, thoughts, favorite TV show, recovery, health, sleep patterns, and yes, readiness. General guidelines on how to maintain or improve our readiness may work for some people, some of the time. Sticking to a regular sleep schedule is advisable but always going to bed at 10pm will not work for everyone.
Readiness is always a matter of the particular individual. Generalizations aren’t enough.
The current state of your body and mind does give you hints about your current readiness. Are you relaxed or tense? Is your mind crystal clear or covered in a thick fog? Do you feel healthy or a bit under the weather? These are mainly subjective evaluations of your readiness.
Traditionally, getting objective measurements has required some extra effort. Tracking readiness has to do with the autonomic nervous system. In order to understand what’s going on, you need a reliable way to get data on its different functions. In practice, this has typically meant things such as adding a HRV measurement to your morning routines, or having specific periods of time when you log your resting heart rate, for example. (If you’re an athlete, you probably know what we’re talking about.) The problem is that you only get a limited glimpse into your body signals.
Generally speaking, measuring readiness has (so far) had these downsides:
We at Oura want to provide you a simple solution that helps you to understand your own, unique readiness. We believe that when you get relevant, personalized and actionable insights that are based on the reactions of your own body, you will learn more about yourself and learn to make choices and adjustments towards better readiness.
We also believe that you should be able to know how ready you are every single day and month. The idea behind the Oura ring’s design is that it’s so comfortable and unobtrusive that you can wear it around the clock. The ring does all the measuring without you even noticing it.
How well you sleep is in the core of Oura’s readiness tracking. When you sleep, your body and mind recover and recharge – that’s when you build your readiness. Measuring your night-time body signals therefore reveals invaluable data about your ability to perform during the following day. Another cornerstone of Oura readiness tracking is your daytime activity and load.
Oura analyzes your night-time and daytime data and tells you how ready you are. But it’s not just single days and nights, or individual metrics, that it uses gauge your readiness. Instead, it combines short- and long-term data: for example, what has your load been during the past 7 days. You will get not only a snapshot of your readiness status, but also a deeper understanding of your overall wellbeing.
Every day, Oura gives you a personal Readiness Score that is your daily readiness signpost. It ranges from 0–100%, and is based on metrics (also known as contributors) tracked with the Oura ring.
Please note that even though your Readiness Score is specific to you, a rule of thumb is that if your Readiness Score is above 85%, you’re ready to meet the day’s challenges. If it’s below 70%, you might want to consider concentrating more on recovery.
Here are the contributors Oura uses to calculate your Oura Readiness Score. Next we’ll go through why they’re important and what you can learn from them.
In addition to calculating the Readiness Score, Oura also tracks your Heart Rate Variability, a readiness metric worth keeping an eye on.
See your readiness metrics in the Oura app
How well you slept the night before has a big impact on your Readiness Score. Good quality sleep is a must for physical and mental recovery – for your memory and learning capabilities, for example. Oura gives you a daily Sleep Score. A general rule of thumb is that it should be above 88% or at the high end of your normal range if you’re planning to do something that requires maximum performance. Emphasis is on the ‘high end of your normal range’ because we’re all unique and sticking to a particular number isn’t advisable.
Readiness is about balance. The Sleep Balance contributor is based on a longer term view of your sleep patterns. Oura compares the past two weeks of your sleep duration to your long-term sleep history and the amount of sleep time recommended for people your age. It’s advised that for staying healthy and alert, adults typically need 7–9 hours of sleep every night.
Yesterday matters when we want to know how ready we are for today. Oura stays on track of your previous day’s load and guides you accordingly. If you have trained intensively, taking time for recovery pays off; that’s when you build your fitness. If you have rested well, your body and mind are readier to accept big challenges.
The Activity Balance contributor is based on a five-day rolling window of your activity levels. Here again, balance is the key. For maximum performance, the aim is to stay adequately active: as close to your daily activity goals as possible. Staying in balance will boost your readiness and help you maintain high energy levels.
Knowing the variations in your night-time body temperature helps you to detect early signs of impending sickness, a need to rest, and for women, the stages of menstrual cycle. Oura tracks and shows you the variations, so that you’ll keep on track of how recovered and ready you are for the day. Furthermore, recent studies advise female athletes to schedule the majority of their heavy intensity training for the first half of the menstrual cycle.
RHR, or resting heart rate, is a reliable and scientifically proven measurement for establishing overall sleep quality, recovery and health. Usually, a RHR on the lower side indicates good fitness, but don’t get too worried if your friend’s value is different from yours: RHR is highly personal and there are many factors that influence it. What you might want to concentrate on are changes compared to your own average, because an exceptionally high or low resting heart rate can be a sign that you need more recovery. Oura shows your lowest and average RHR, as well as minute-by-minute resting heart rate graph.
The timing of your lowest RHR is of significance, too. It tells you how balanced your body is in recovering from the previous day’s load and getting ready for tomorrow’s challenges. Recovery Index is one indicator of this balance: it shows how long it takes for your RHR to stabilize and reach its lowest point. An indicator of good readiness is if this happens earlier in the night (one rule of thumb is at least six hours prior to waking). For instance, eating a heavy meal, drinking alcohol, or exercising too close to bedtime can postpone the timing. They all speed up your metabolism and elevate your RHR, which in turn delay your recovery and increase your sleep need.
In addition to calculating the Readiness Score, Oura also tracks your Heart Rate Variability (HRV) throughout the night. What is HRV? Well, there’s a small time gap between your heartbeats, and this gap isn’t identical all the time. Heart Rate Variability indicates the variation in the time interval between heartbeats. Both researchers and practitioners consider HRV to be a good measure of your recovery, and therefore readiness status, as it can indicate stress and fatigue levels on your body. Generally speaking, when you’re fit, relaxed and recovered, your HRV is higher. When your body is recovering from e.g. strenuous exercise, your HRV is lower.
The HRV value given by Oura can range from anywhere below 20 to over 100 ms. But bear this in mind: HRV is extremely individual.
Oura calculates your night-time HRV from the rMSSD, a well-known HRV parameter that provides a good view on your Autonomic Nervous System activity. The Oura app shows your average HRV (from 5-minute samples measured during the whole night), and and your nightly HRV curve.
The HRV value given by Oura can range from anywhere below 20 to over 100 ms. But bear this in mind: HRV is extremely individual. Your minimum and maximum values depend on factors such as your age, hormone levels, circadian rhythm, lifestyle and overall health. So do not compare your values with anyone else but yourself!
If you’re interested in tracking your readiness but don’t yet have the tools for it, have a look at the new Oura ring in the Oura Shop. If you have an Oura ring, have a look at our Readiness FAQ for more answers or dig deep into your data in the Oura Cloud.
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NHL players Pekka Rinne, Jussi Jokinen and Miikka Salomäki have been using Oura during their summer training program with personal training company Prässi Ltd.