Meta is adding two new fitness-related features to the Meta Quest. The first is Health Connect integration, meaning Android users can finally sync their Quest workout data automatically. Perhaps more exciting for VR fitness buffs: you’ll now be able to pair Bluetooth heart rate monitors and view your stats in real time.
Health Connect is Google’s health API, which allows Android users to share health and fitness data between multiple apps and consolidate that information in one place. The integration means you can now link your Quest Move VR workouts to Google Fit without having to do anything. Meta enabled a similar integration with Apple Health for iOS users last year.
To enable Health Connect, users have to tap the Settings menu in the Move app in VR. Scroll down and then toggle on “Connect Move to Meta Quest Mobile App.” Once that’s done, you have to hop over to the Meta Quest phone app, navigate to the Connected Apps tab, and toggle on “Health Connect by Android.” You’ll also be prompted to allow permissions for “Active calories burned” and “Exercise.”
A quick note on health data privacy: Meta says your Move stats are stored locally on your Quest headset and will only be sent to Meta servers if you choose to sync your stats with the Meta Quest app, which you need to do for the Health Connect integration to work. Meta also says data you choose to share are end-to-end encrypted and will not be used for targeted ads. That said, whenever you enable these kinds of APIs, you’re also agreeing to a separate set of privacy policies and terms of conditions. In this case, you’ll also be agreeing to Google’s Health Connect terms — as well as any other third-party fitness or health app you connect through Health Connect.
This also pertains to heart rate data, should you choose to connect a Bluetooth heart rate monitor. In a press image below, you can see that heart rate is now a real-time stat that can be viewed via the Meta Quest Move Overlay alongside calories burned and exercise minutes.
“When a compatible heart rate monitor is paired with Meta Quest Move, the heart rate overlay will be displayed across any game or app in VR. A developer will not need to integrate,” Meta spokesperson Travis Isaman told The Verge.
Those compatible heart rate monitors include the Garmin HRM-Dual and the Polar H10 chest straps. Isaman clarified that other Bluetooth heart rate monitors, including smartwatches, may work with the headset. The Garmin HRM-Dual and Polar H10 are simply known to work.
VR fitness is still a nascent category, and it’s going to need both of these integrations if it’s ever going to gain mainstream popularity. Data consolidation is a huge pain point for connected fitness. It’s why every major fitness app worth its salt includes multiple third-party app integrations like HealthKit, Health Connect, or Strava.
Heart rate integration is a commonly expected feature, and many connected fitness platforms include it from the get-go. Fitness Plus users could see their Apple Watch heart rate data overlaid during a class from day one. Meanwhile, platforms like Peloton, Hydrow, and even the not-so-smart equipment at your local gym have long integrated with heart rate monitors so that users can get a more accurate view of their data. Although Meta didn’t specify when the updates were rolling out, better late than never.