With Apple Watches, Garmins, Fit Bits, and all the other high tech fitness gadgets on the market, when the Oura Ring Generation 3 first launched I wasn't sure it would be much more than a stylish looking fad.
There's been a lot of hype around the Ring in the past couple of years, with celebrities like Prince Harry, Jennifer Aniston, and the queen of wellness trends herself, Gwyneth Paltrow being seen wearing the device.
The smart ring claims to be able to track a vast array of health metrics and I was doubtful a device of such a small size would be able to measure up. After wearing mine day in day out for over a year now I can say my doubts were unfounded and this tracker is far from a fad, and you can read why in my full review below.
Detects illness through temperature sensors
Detailed sleep tracking
Accurate step counter
Emphasises the importance of rest and recovery
Comfortable to sleep in
Only needs to be charged once a week
Need to pay for a subscription on top of the device
Workout tracking could be improved
Jennifer Aniston was chatting to Jimmy Kimmel about a recent dinner party at his house when the conversation turned to a device Kimmel had recommended to her. Aniston says 'you turned me onto this thing called the Oura Ring'.
She jokingly adds 'I'm addicted to it and I was talking about how this is ruining my life because I'm so obsessed with the Oura Ring and my sleep patterns and how badly I sleep and it shames me every day'.
Gwyneth Paltrow has also been quoted as saying she 'loves' the ring, and we all know she takes her health very seriously.
What is an Oura Ring?
The Oura Ring is a comprehensive health tracker, that despite being only slightly chunkier than a standard ring, can track your activity, body temperature, sleep, recovery, stress, and heart rate with its built in research grade sensors.
How does the Oura Ring work?
In order to get granular about how the Oura Ring works, Women's Health chatted to Oura's Product Manager and Women's Health Lead, Caroline Kryder.
Kryder informed us the ring 'has red, infrared, and green light sensors and measures directly from the arteries in your finger, rather than the surface capillaries in your wrist. Oura uses infrared PPG [Photoplethysmography] to track your biometric data while you sleep, green light sensors to track daytime heart rate and workout heart rate, and red/infrared light sensors to power SpO2 [oxygen saturation]'.
Kryder added that 'Oura is also one of the only wearables that measures your temperature directly from your skin, 24/7'.
That's all well and good, but what do I actually do with all that information? Kryder advises us that 'each sensor provides biometric data to inform three key scores for the day: Readiness, Sleep, and Activity. These three scores help answer the questions, 'How ready am I for the day?', 'How well did I sleep last night?', and 'How am I balancing my activity with rest?' to empower members to understand their overall wellbeing and optimise their daily routines'.
Oura Ring review
Before you buy an Oura Ring you will have to order a sizing kit so that you can make sure the ring you order will be the right size. The Ring needs be as snug as it can be without being too tight, and it is only supposed to be worn on your index or middle finger for the greatest accuracy.
The sizing kit comes with eight sizes to choose from and once you've tried on one of the plastic rings and determined which one is best for you, you can head to the Oura website and select the colour and size you want.
Once my Oura Ring arrived I put it on charge for the suggested 80 minutes before I started using it. In order to use the Ring properly you'll need to download the Oura app, a subscription for which costs £4.99 a month on top of the £290 (minimum) you paid for the ring itself.
The gold ring that I got is the second most expensive you can buy, with prices starting at £290 for silver and going up to £450 for rose gold.
The app contains a plethora of health insights which are divided into three categories: readiness, activity, and sleep.
Oura ring readiness score
Oura calculates your readiness score by using the lowest heart rate overnight, your body temperature, activity from the previous day, your HRV and sleep.
It also takes into account how much activity you've been doing over the past 14 days compared to how much you've done over the past two months to determine whether you're doing a lot more (or less) activity than your body is used to.
A score above 70 is considered good, with 85 being the highest score you can get. The score is a great way to see how much activity you should take on on any given day, with lower scores indicating you're in need of some rest and high scores indicating you're ready for a challenge.
If you're consistently getting a low readiness score, this could be a sign that you need to take your recovery more seriously and you're over training or not getting enough sleep and recovery time.
Oura Ring sleep tracker
The sleep tracker is the Oura's Magnum Opus, and is what really sets it apart from other fitness trackers on the market. Not only is the ring more comfortable to wear during a deep sleep than a watch, it is able to delivery research-quality sleep data.
The Oura Ring PPG (this is the infrared LED in the ring that measures your health data) completes 50 cycles per second for greater accuracy, and is able to detect slight movements while you're sleeping.
One of the only trackers that directly takes skin temperature, the Oura Ring is able to tell when you're falling asleep and about to wake up. The accelemorator measures every movement, from rolling over in your sleep to a quick trip to the bathroom.
While you're snoozing the Ring is able to detect your blood oxygen levels and uses these measurements to determine how efficiently your body circulates and absorbs oxygen which can indicate any potential issues you may be having with breathing while you sleep.
When you wake up in the morning, you'll be able to see your hyponogram, which is a highly detailed graph that categorises your sleep staging into three categories: light, deep, and REM.
It then uses this data to give you a sleep score from 0 to 100. A score over 85 means your sleep was optimal, a score between 74 and 84 means your sleep was good, and a score under 70 shows your sleep needs to be improved.
The sleep tracker is undoubtably my favourite feature of the Oura Ring, and it's often the first thing I'll check when I wake up in the morning. Something I've found very interesting is how much alcohol affects my sleep.
Even just one glass of wine negatively impacts my sleep, and even if I technically got seven or eight hours of shut-eye, I didn't get the deep or REM sleep needed to feel properly rested. For this reason, I've majorly cut back on my alcohol consumption. Something about seeing the immediate negative effects of a couple of drinks has been a major deterrent for me.
Oura Ring activity tracker
Your activity score is all about making sure you're balancing activity, inactivity, and rest properly.
All the scores the Oura Ring gives you influence each other, meaning if you've had a big day of training one day your readiness score will adjust to ensure you're giving yourself enough time to rest and recover.
I have found the activity score immensely helpful when figuring out what kind of training I should be doing on any given day, as it lets me know when I'm ready for a hard training session or should be focusing on recovery.
A score above 84 means you're activity balance is optimal, 70-84 means your balance is good, and anything under 70 means your balance is off and you might need to readjust.
It frequently sends an alert to my phone when I've been sitting at my desk for too long urging me to stretch my legs, which is a good reminder to keep moving throughout the day.
It also adjusts my step goal to take into account how much rest I need. So although I've set my step goal to 12,000 steps, if I should be taking it easier the step goal will adjust to something lower to ensure I'm not overexerting myself.
When I'm training for a big event, like a half marathon, my activity score has been helpful in deciding which days I should keep my runs light and easy and which days I can afford to push it a little harder.
Oura Ring battery life
Unlike my Apple Watch that needs to be charged every day or two, the Oura Ring can last a good seven days between charges which is a major plus.
The ring is charged in 20-80 minutes, so if you notice it's running low you can pop it onto the charger just before bed and it won't take long to be fully charged.
The app will alert you when the battery of your ring is running low, so you won't need to worry about it dying on you unexpectedly.
Oura Ring stress management
The Oura Ring is constantly updating with new features, and one of the more recent ones is a Daytime Stress feature. Oura's Product Manager and Women's Health Lead, Caroline Kryder, filled us in on how it works: 'Previously, Oura was able to measure stress through nighttime heart rate variability (HRV). Now, we have a new ability to measure near-real-time stress and recovery using daytime HRV, heart rate, temperature trends, and accelerometer data to power the Daytime Stress feature and provide ongoing insights'.
To go along with this feature, Oura members can work to better understand the causes of their stress and the most effective recovery methods for them by using Reflections, Oura's new journalling tool.
Kryder tells us that 'members can either write their thoughts or voice record them, allowing them to look back on their days and start to see patterns in their stress responses.'
Oura also has a new measure called resilience, and its function is to tell you how well you bounce back from stress on a daily basis. You will get a resilience 'level' (either Exceptional, Strong, Solid, Adequate, or Limited) which lets you know how well your body reacts and adapts to stress. It takes into account your nighttime recovery, daytime recovery and daytime stress load in order to give you the level.
Oura Ring review: Final verdict
As I already mentioned at the beginning of the review, I quickly found the data the Oura Ring gives me immensely helpful and accurate.
For example, I had the flu a few weeks ago and the ring was able to tell I was sick from a spike in my temperature and adjusted my scores to show I shouldn't be working out while I'm unwell.
If you're interested in non-hormonal birth control or ovulation tracking, you can also pair the Oura Ring with the Natural Cycles app and use the temperature data to track your ovulation cycle.
After wearing the ring consistently for six months all day and all night, it is still in good nick, with just a couple of scratches on the back. I got it in gold so I was worried it might start to tarnish quite quickly, but it isn't showing any noticeable signs of that just yet.
I've also found in the six months I've been using the Ring it has continued adding new features so it is constantly innovating and getting better. Although the ring is expensive at £410 (and the monthly subscription fee) if you want to invest in a reliable, accurate, and unobtrusive health tracker, the Oura Ring is well worth it in my opinion.
Where to buy Oura Ring in the UK?
At the moment you can only buy the Oura Ring directly from the Oura website.
Does the Oura ring track steps?
Yes it does. I've worn the Apple Watch alongside the Oura Ring a few times to check the accuracy. Sometimes the steps counted by the Oura Ring is slightly higher, but only by 200 to 300 steps.
Is the Oura Ring water resistant?
The Oura Ring has been designed to be worn at all times, so yes, it is water resistant.
This means you can swim, shower, and sweat to your hearts content while wearing the ring, but it is only water resistant to up to 100m so it's best to leave it at home if you're planning on going diving.
Does the Oura Ring get tarnished?
Considering I've been wearing the ring day in day out for over a year, it's looking pretty good.
To be honest, I probably should have taken it off during my weights workouts as it is getting a bit scratched on the inside but apart from that the gold is nicely in tact.
Apart from the back and a few small scratches on the front, the ring is in great nick still looks shiny and hasn't lost its colour.
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