|Photography by Jade|
It's different from your actual heart rate, which is when you take your pulse and measure how many times it beats in a minute. Heart rate variability is something commonly used amongst athletes to measure their performance and recovery rates.
Lets say your heart actually beats 60 times a minute... you would naturally expect it to have a beat once every second right? Wrong. Most healthy hearts have a difference in length of time between beats. One beat could be 0.5 seconds apart, the next beat 0.8 seconds apart, the next 1.2 seconds apart. This is the variability bit. This is a good sign. It show that your body and your heart has a good level of adaption and can accommodate to different circumstances and stresses that are put upon them. So a high heart rate variability is a good thing.
In general a high HRV is an indication of the parasympathetic nervous system response (Remember PEACE, relaxation, recovery..... from the previous post on the Autonomic Nervous System).
If on the other hand your heart rate variability gets lower it shows that your body is having a hard time and is still under stress and need time to recover (sympathetic response). Elite Athletes use this to assess when to train and how hard to train and to get a feel for when they are sufficiently recovered for a harder workout. Even if you are no athlete this information can be used as a means to assess your ability to handle stress and is a very useful, outwardly visible indication of your autonomic nervous systems functioning
I downloaded a bundle of four HRV measuring Apps from the apple store but I only use these 2 below. They work by putting your index finger over the light and camera on your iPhone?!
One caution.... heart rate variability can lower as you get more unfit...so if you loaf around too much thinking you are resting, expecting your HRV to increase, the opposite may happen and your HRV may get lower. As always .. tools can be useful but they don't replace intuition and common sense so don't place all your trust in it! (unless you have a proper heart rate monitor...and even then...)
As I type this I'm reading %28: relaxed.... not bad. Blogging must be good for me!
My 12 year old likes using the stressed out app as a game and as we sat round the dining table the other night we all took our readings and had a "competition" to see who could get the lowest %.... my son gloated that he had 0% stress.... but I'm not exactly certain that he was following the rules... oh if that were so.... that would be an accomplishment!
There are lots of other HRV monitors out there which are free (these ones cost me about 4 -5 pounds for a 4 bundle)
Why not go download a free one and have a play around.
If you want to read a bit more go to:
|Photography by Jade|