Learn more about Microsoft Band terms and definitions

Applies to: Microsoft BandMicrosoft Band 2


Wonder what a term in the Microsoft Band app or on your Microsoft Health web dashboard means? Check out this glossary.

Aerobic activity

Aerobic activities require oxygen as the primary source of energy. Because aerobic activities are typically low to moderate intensity, you can perform them for longer durations.

Anaerobic activity

Anaerobic activities, such as weight lifting and interval training, require little to no oxygen to perform. You should perform high-intensity anaerobic activities for shorter durations.


A calorie is a measure of energy, either consumed or burned. Each gram of protein or carbohydrates contains four calories. Each gram of alcohol contains seven calories. Each gram of fat contains nine calories, and each pound of fat contains 3,500 calories.

Calorie burn rate

Your Band uses a combination of heart rate and motion data and profile information to estimate your baseline calorie burn rate. Your Band also uses your height, weight, gender, and age to calculate your resting metabolic rate.

Drawing on our research about the physiology of people with a similar profile, the Band app’s algorithms use information about your heart rate, motion, and speed to calculate a calorie burn rate beyond your baseline. This differs from the workout equipment in your gym, which usually computes your calorie burn rate based on your exercise, regardless of your metabolic baseline.

The Microsoft Band app may show more calories burned during an exercise session than a piece of exercise equipment might show. While we try to be as accurate as possible, every user’s physiology is different in terms of metabolic efficiency, and no device will be 100 percent correct. However, we designed our algorithms to fit the majority of users for any given profile.

Cardio benefit

Cardio benefit measures the effectiveness of your workouts toward improving your cardiovascular fitness and depends on the relationship between exercise intensity and duration. Cardio benefit is relative to your own cardiovascular fitness level, so comparing it with other people’s levels isn’t useful.

Cardio score

The cardio score point system was designed to reflect the minimum activity recommendations outlined by the American Heart Association, where the actual score is based on the intensity and duration of activity. Moderately intense activity earns you one point per minute, while high-intensity activity earns you two points per minute. Intensity is determined through personalized heart rate training zones or speed and elevation values.  

The American Heart Association recommends a minimum of 30 minutes of moderately intense activity, five days a week for a total of 150 minutes weekly OR 25 minutes of combined moderate to intense activity, three days a week for a total of 75 minutes weekly. These recommendations are equivalent to 150 cardio points per week.


Cooldown activities are low-intensity exercises that slowly bring the body back to a near-resting state. These exercises may include jogging, walking, or stretching.

Custom guided workouts

Use the custom guided workout tool to create, save, and track your own workouts. The custom guided workout tool combines structure, guidance, and convenience with your own personal touch.


Efficiency refers to the number of calories burned per minute. Monitoring your workout efficiency can be helpful if your workout goals include maximizing calorie burn.


Your Band measures elevation gains and losses in feet or meters during running and biking. For daily activities, your Band measures elevation gain in floors. Your Band measures gains and losses in elevation based on your position at the start of each activity.

Fitness level

The Microsoft Band app calculates your fitness level by estimating the volume of oxygen your body uses during maximal exercise, also known as VO2 max.

Floors calculation

Your Band features a barometer that enables it to measure differences in atmospheric pressure. The device algorithms use this measurement and other sensor data to convert this pressure difference to elevation gain and floors when going up. The Band does not count floors when you go down stairs.

The floor count depends on the height of floors. Not all floors are the same height. Your Band is optimized to provide a floor count for both homes and commercial buildings. If you walk up a hill, your Band would continue to count floors as you go up in elevation.

Your Band would not count floors when you're riding in an elevator, unless you walk around in the elevator.

Guided workouts

Guided workouts are designed to provide structure, guidance, and convenience to your active lifestyle. Find your workout, sync it to your Band, and begin.

Heart rate

Your Band uses a photo diode and a light sensor to measure the variation of blood flow through your capillaries. When you're sitting still, such variation is due to your heart beat and your breathing. When you're moving or exercising, the frequency of the blood flow through your capillaries changes as a result of this motion. Your Band uses algorithms to filter out any variation that is due to motion or breathing when it estimates your heart rate.

How often does the Band sample my heart rate?

Your Band samples your heart rate as follows (from most to least precise):

  • Run/Exercise/Bike/Guided workout tiles: The Band records your heart rate every second for the entire time the tile is active.
  • Golf Tile: Every 5 minutes, the Band records your heart rate for 1 minute. During the 1-minute measurement period, your heart rate is recorded every second.
  • Me Tile: The Band records your heart rate whenever you're interacting with it. This allows you to get an instant heart rate estimate whenever you want.
  • Sleep Tile: Every 10 minutes, the Band records your heart rate for 2 minutes. During the 2-minute measurement period, your heart rate is recorded every second. If you wear the Band while sleeping without turning on the Sleep Tile, the Band continues to measure your heart rate for 1 minute every 10 minutes (similar to daily mode).
  • Daily mode: Every 10 minutes, the Band estimates your heart rate for 1 minute, regardless of whether you're interacting with it or not. During the 1 minute of measurement, the Band records your heart rate every second.

How can I improve the accuracy of the heart rate estimate?

  • Make sure the Band is a good fit. For a more accurate heart rate estimate, your Band should be worn snug on the wrist. It should not slide up and down while you exercise. However, it should not be too tight, as this may affect the rate of blood-flow through your capillaries.
  • Use the appropriate tile for your activity:
    • Run Tile: Use the Run Tile for activities like running, hiking, and cross-country skiing.
    • Exercise Tile: Use the Exercise Tile for activities like rowing, using a stair climber or elliptical trainer, or other gym-related workouts.
    • Bike Tile: Use the Bike Tile for indoor and outdoor bike rides. The algorithms are optimized for both stationary and outdoor bikes.
    • Me Tile: Use the Me Tile to get an instant heart rate estimate. The algorithms are optimized to provide a heart rate estimate as fast as possible, making the Band ideal for collecting heart rate data throughout the day in the background as well as providing an instant heart rate estimate outside of exercise activity.

Heart rate zones

Heart rate zones are personalized zones of exercise intensity based on your maximum heart rate. Exercising in the lower heart-rate zones can help you build a base of cardiovascular fitness and can help you recover more quickly after strenuous exercise. Exercising in the higher zones may yield greater benefit to your cardiovascular fitness and may require additional recovery time.

Max heart rate

The Band app predicts your maximum heart rate based on your age and uses it to generate personalized heart-rate training zones. Your max heart-rate value adapts to you. If you consistently exceed your predicted value, your max heart rate will increase.

Non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT)

NEAT refers to the calories burned during everyday activities such as household chores, standing, eating, and sleeping. Some daily activities require more energy than others. A greater amount of non-exercise-related activities may result in higher caloric expenditure each day, which can help you achieve or maintain a healthy body weight.


Pace refers to the average time it takes to run or bike each mile or kilometer during an activity.

Recovery time

Recovery time is the recommended amount of time your body needs to get fully back to its normal resting state after an exercise session.

Restful sleep

Restful sleep refers to the deeper, highly restorative phases of sleep. Restful sleep helps rebuild and repair the body after daily activity.

Resting heart rate

Resting heart rate refers to the lowest measure of your heart rate in beats per minute (BPM) while you are at rest.


Your Band tracks the length and quality of your sleep using biometric data like heart rate and motion. Your sleep period must be at least two hours to be detected automatically and tracked. Because sleep detection is motion-based, if you’re inactive for at least two hours (for example, while reading a book or watching a movie), your Band might detect your inactivity as sleep. Your Band records any sleep time that started between midnight and 5 a.m. as occurring the previous day. Sleep is vitally important to your health and wellness, so be sure to make it a priority.

Sleep efficiency

Sleep efficiency is the ratio of the amount of actual sleep to the total amount of sleep. Total amount of sleep is defined as the time between when you first fall asleep until the last time you wake up during one sleep session. Time you spend in bed trying to fall asleep isn’t recorded as sleep.


Take two nights where you went to bed at 10 p.m. and woke up at 6 a.m. You were in bed for eight hours on both nights, but during the first night you slept soundly all night. This equates to high sleep efficiency. The second night you woke up throughout the night. This equates to reduced sleep efficiency. Even though you were in bed for eight hours both nights, you spent a smaller portion of those hours in actual sleep during the second night.

Sleep restoration

Sleep restores your resources by helping your body recover from physical and psychological stress. Restoration results from a lowered activity level in the body. Optimal restoration results from a sufficient amount and quality of sleep.


A split is a marker used to evaluate your speed at various points over a given distance.

Step count

Your Band includes a three-axis accelerometer sensor. Your Band and the Microsoft Band app apply algorithms to the accelerometer data to detect and count steps. We have optimized the algorithms to count steps in different situations, including normal walking, running, and sprinting, as well as other situations like walking with your hands in your pockets, talking on a cell phone, or pushing a golf bag cart. We have also optimized the step counting algorithms to avoid counting steps when your arms are moving but you're standing in place, such as when you're presenting, washing your hands, or driving.

How your Band computes distance

Your Band includes a GPS sensor as well as a pedometer. Both are used to compute the distance traveled by the user:

  • GPS-based distance
    When you activate GPS when using the Run or Bike tiles, your Band and the Microsoft Band app use changes in GPS coordinates to estimate the distance traveled. For faster GPS lock, sync your Band with your phone before you start out. To learn more, see Using GPS mapping.
  • Pedometer-based distance
    Your Band and the Microsoft Band app compute distance traveled by using the number of detected steps multiplied by your stride length. By default, your Band and the Band app estimate your stride length based on your gender and height (that you entered in the Band app).

    As you continue to wear your Band with GPS enabled, the Band app records your stride length for different speeds and styles, and then uses this data to compute distance, rather than using the default value based on your height and gender. This personalizes the distance computation and increases its accuracy.

VO2 max

VO2 max refers to the maximum volume of oxygen your body can use during exercise. It’s a primary indicator of your cardiovascular fitness.

The Band app estimates your VO2 max by analyzing the relationship between your heart rate and speed during activities tracked on the Run Tile. As you work harder, your heart rate, speed, and oxygen consumption increase. Recording more runs, with increased effort, may improve the accuracy of your VO2 estimates.


Warmup activities are low- to moderate-intensity exercises intended to increase your muscle temperature and stimulate your nervous system in preparation for upcoming exercise demands.


A workout is an activity that maintains or enhances your fitness, health, and overall wellness.