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Using Heart Rate Variability to Optimize your Life

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Using Heart Rate Variability to Optimize your Life

Although there is no one single biomarker that proves how healthy you are, Heart Rate Variability (HRV) has shown promise in identifying your day-to-day health when tested regularly. Without getting too deep into the weeds, HRV is the variation in the intervals between heart beats. When tested on a recurring basis, it can offer some insight into whether or not you should be resting or training.

In general, we want to see a high HRV on the days that you intend to train on. When you have a high HRV it indicates the side of the autonomic nervous system (parasympathetic) is in good working order and promoting relaxation, digestion, sleep, and recovery.

When you have a low HRV your sympathetic nervous system is showing signs of stress, overtraining, and inflammation. This could be from a multitude of things including lifestyle factors, lack of sleep, stress, overtraining, and diet.

Now do you see how monitoring your HRV daily could lead to optimal training days? When we take the science out of our rest, we know when we should be hitting the gym hard and when we should be “pulling on the reigns” and taking it easy.

If you want to see the science behind this, check out the Journal of Sports Science and Medicines article to look at the relationship of HRV and the Injury Relationship with Competitive CrossFitters (click)

If you’re interested, the testing of HRV has come a long way and no longer requires chest straps or expensive bands and can be done on your Smart Phone using the HRV4Training App.

Helpful Links:
Chest Strap vs. App (Plews et al., 2017)

Heart Rate Variability is a Moderating Factor in the Workload-Injury Relationship of Competitive CrossFitâ„¢ Athletes