An Introduction to Your Activity Score
Looking at your Activity tab and feeling confused? Here, we’ll cover all the Activity Score basics. Everything from sorting out how your Activity Score is calculated, to specifics on how movement, steps, and calories are measured, to brief tips of how to increase your score are all outlined below.
How Oura Measures Your Activity Score
Your Activity Score is measured using your daily activity (how much you move throughout the day), step count, training frequency, and training volume, among other metrics. The Oura Ring is able to capture these metrics using a 3D accelerometer, a small piece of technology tucked neatly into your ring. By using a 3D accelerometer, the Oura Ring is able to measure the movement of your hand to estimate whole-body activity (physical activity) and leg movement (step count).
Your Activity Score ranges from 0-100. Scoring anywhere from 85-100 means you’ve achieved an optimal balance between activity and rest. Landing anywhere from 70-84 is still indicative of a good balance between the two. However, scoring below 70 is a signal to pay attention to the Activity contributors you may be falling behind on. You can identify the areas you may be struggling in by looking out for activity contributors that are in the “red zone”.
In the image displayed below, you’ll see this demonstrated beneath the “Meet Daily Goals” contributor. As an example, if this specific scenario were to apply to you, it would be a sign to place greater emphasis on meeting your daily goal progress to boost your overall Activity Score.
Here is how you can expect to see your Activity Score presented in the Oura app:
How Oura Measures Movement
Oura allows you to capture all kinds of healthy movement through the accelerometer inside your ring, not just workouts. We’re all about meeting you where you are, wherever that may be in your health journey. This is why both regular and irregular movements are accounted for by your ring.
Regular movement consists of walking or running, meanwhile, irregular movement consists of activities such as washing the dishes, playing badminton, or doing chores around the house. The level of intensity (low, medium, and high) is also brought into the picture when gauging activity. Oura looks to categorize your activity into these classes to improve the accuracy of your readings. For example, by setting an intensity threshold, Oura can carefully capture how many times the signal coming from your accelerometer crosses over these thresholds. Not only does this allow Oura to provide a realistic output for how hard you’ve pushed your body while in motion—but it also permits Oura to disregard movements that occur too quickly and likely are not representative of physical activity, such as waving your hand or shaking your wrist.
Check out the following sections if you’re interested in learning how movement detected by your Oura Ring is applied while calculating calories and step count.
How Oura Calculates Steps
Oura counts steps whenever they happen so you get credit where it’s earned. Our approach is different from other wearables that tend to only measure active movements (walking, running, etc.). To determine step count, the number of movements detected by your Oura Ring (using the method described above) is multiplied by a number that represents the degree and type of physical activity you took part in. The goal is to translate your movement into a step count that accurately depicts intensity and regularity, which is why a modifier is used.
Keep in mind that the daily margin of error for step count is within +/- 500 steps which is similar when measured against other wearables that measure step count via GPS or rough approximations using gender, weight, age, and height.
How Oura Uses METs to Calculate Activity & Calories
Based on step count value, a quantity for METs can be produced, which is how Oura estimates your daily energy expenditure. METs, otherwise known as Metabolic Equivalents, are a measure of how hard your metabolism is working compared to when you’re at rest. For example, if an activity yields 2 METs, this means you’re burning twice as many calories compared to what you’d burn while remaining still or lying down (1 MET is the energy your body uses while at rest).
METs are what you see measured out on your daily movement graph that breaks activity down into various classes (inactive, low, medium and high). In this graph (shown below), each bar you see displayed represents how active you’ve been for every 15-minute segment throughout the day. A higher bar means that a larger MET value was generated during that period of time. For example, movements that occur during running will result in a larger MET value (i.e. a higher bar shown on the movement graph) than movements that occur while walking.
Walking Equivalency Explained
Oura also converts your activity burn into distance, which is displayed in your app as “Walking Equivalency”. In simple terms, walking equivalency answers, “How much would I have had to walk to burn the amount of calories that I did?” This is why high-intensity activities like jogging move you closer to your daily activity goal faster than low-intensity activities like walking.
The best part about walking equivalency is that it’s comparable between people; because walking equivalency reflects similar activity levels, you can see how you stack up against your friends using this metric. In comparison, caloric burn is related to body weight, which is why it’s often not useful to compare between people.
How to Act on Your Activity Score
Oura promotes an active, but balanced lifestyle. The focus is on staying physically active on a weekly basis (2-3 sessions per week that allow your heart and breathing rates to get into elevated zones that challenge your system) and to avoid complete inactivity daily.
Here are a few tips to consider when looking to achieve a higher Activity Score:
• Keep your total inactive time below 8 hours per day. This will positively affect your Activity Score. In contrast, being inactive for more than 10 hours daily will negatively impact your score
• Move for just a few minutes each hour (e.g. standing up from your desk to stretch your legs). This can directly assist in raising your score. You can enable inactivity alerts in your settings if you’d like to receive a friendly reminder to get your blood flowing after 50 consecutive minutes of inactivity
• Strive to meet your activity goal 5 or more times per week. Keep in mind that your activity goals are assigned to you based on your Readiness level
• Get your step count up. There is no step count goal as a feature of your Oura experience; rather, the focus is on comparing steps to your own baseline. Of course, some days will be more inactive than others, but if you can increase your average step count by bumping up your daily movement with 1000 additional steps for example, you’ll see boosts in your score and gains in your overall health
• Try to get in 2000-3000 calories of medium-to-high-intensity activity per week. For an average adult, this equates to 2 hours of jogging or 4.5 hours of brisk walking per week. If your volume falls to 750-1500 calories per week, this will negatively impact your activity score
Keep in mind that life is a series of challenges in recovery. The idea is that you push yourself, then recover, and repeat this pattern. You’ll end up gaining more fitness in the long-run this way. If you’ve gone 5 days without active rest, the “Recovery Time” contributor will detract from your overall Activity Score. If you'd like to understand how this contributor, among other activity contributors, is determined, please visit our guide.
Apple Health & Google Fit Integrations
By offering integrations with Apple Health and Google Fit, Oura offers a one-stop-shop for keeping track of all your physical activity. This feature allows you to view all progress made toward reaching your fitness goals, no matter what those may be. Please see our articles, Oura’s Apple Health Integration and Oura’s Google Fit Integration for more details on how to get these set up.
Given that workouts with minimal or slow hand movements such as yoga, cycling, pilates or strength training are more challenging for the 3D accelerometer inside your Oura Ring to measure, importing workouts from Apple Health or Google Fit are a great way to improve the accuracy of your activity insights if you frequently take part in these exercises.
To learn even more about your Activity Score, please visit The Pulse.