Fitbit appears to capture the exact moment of post-breakup heartbreak

Fitbit Blaze Wants to Be Your Fanciest Fitness Smartwatch
Fitbit Blaze Wants to Be Your Fanciest Fitness Smartwatch

On Saturday, Koby Soto had a bad day and he has the data to prove it.

His boyfriend of around one month broke up with him, which was traumatic enough, but when Soto, cofounder of Tel Aviv property management startup Guesty, checked his Fitbit later, he was surprised to see his heightened emotions reflected in his health data. His skyrocketing, erratic heart rate had all been captured faithfully by his fitness tracker, he told Mashable.

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The 28-year-old had an exam Monday, so he took time off from using social networks before posting a screenshot of Saturday's heart rate on Twitter and Hacker News on Tuesday.

Soto said he had no idea his tweet would attract any kind of attention. He thought the image would be interesting to a few other tech guys interested in data, but as of writing, the tweet has been liked more that 1,000 times. "I don't have a lot of followers," he said. "I'm absolutely overwhelmed ... it's attention I'm not used to."

Soto purchased his Fitbit to track workouts, but he's not intimidated by the fact it has captured so much more. "The first time I saw it I was shocked, and thought it was a bit funny," he said. "I didn't expect to be tracked."

"But now, maybe awe, it's cool. I don't get spooked by the fact that I'm being logged."

Soto said this is the first time a wearable has captured any of his emotional trauma. "I've been in a few relationships a lot longer than this and the breakups were much more intense, but I wasn't wearing a Fitbit," he said.

There was one silver lining, however — a decent fat burn. "It's funny, because [the Fitbit] thought I was working out, but I wasn't doing anything," he said.

He chalked up the long-lasting, elevated heart rate to his habit of returning to the incident over and over in his mind. "I'm quite an emotional type of guy, so when I'm in a breakup, I'm in a constant bad mood and constant stress."

That response is absolutely understandable, Brad McKay, doctor and host of the TV show Embarrassing Bodies Down Under, told Mashable via email after taking a look at Soto's tweet. "Times of emotional trauma can activate your sympathetic nervous system, leading to the "fight or flight" response and the resulting [elevated pulse rate]," he said.

According to McKay, Soto's Fitbit monitor shows a pre-breakup heart rate of approximately 65 beats per minute, climbing to a post-breakup heart rate of about 80 beats per minute. "The spikes up to nearly 120bpm probably occurred whenever his thoughts returned to the traumatic end of his relationship," he suggested.

Soto said he wasn't surprised at the data his Fitbit had collected. "The fact that wearables are so common these days, especially ones measuring heartbeat, lets us look at stuff we already knew about," he said. "Everyone's had a breakup, so everyone knows [the feeling]."

"It's interesting to see the literal measurements and not to just talk about emotions."

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