Heart Rate Variability & What It Says About Your Health
January 20, 2023
Well, folks, today we are talking about a metric that isn’t always discussed but can be wildly beneficial to your fitness goals and achievements. It’s known as Heart Rate Variability (HRV). Never heard of it or are confused about what it means? We’ll walk you through the basics.
HRV is a small metric that may say a lot about your overall health. To put it plainly, your heartbeat varies in pace based on if you are resting or stressed. Now, we don’t just mean stressed because your dog sitter bailed or had a deadline due five minutes ago — a stressor could also be a great workout, public speaking, or finally going on a date with the person you’ve been eyeing for the last few months.
When you are resting, your heart beats slower, and so the distance between each beat can be a little off-tempo. There is just more time and, therefore, more variability. When you are under a stressor, your heart starts to beat faster with less team between each beat and more like a metronome. HRV is measured in milliseconds (ms), so these differences can be teeny tiny.
HRV is one of the most telling metrics your wearable device is looking at to determine how well recovered/rested you are on a given day. That’s because it serves as a window into your Autonomic Nervous System and shows us exactly how parasympathetic (rest mode) or sympathetic (stress mode) you are right now.
The less variability (and therefore, the lower the number on your wearable device), the more you are in a fight-or-flight state. The more variability (the higher the number on your wearable device), the more you are in a rest-and-digest state.
Keep in mind that both high and low HRV numbers aren’t inherently “good” or “bad”; there is just a time and a place for each. Your goal is for your HRV to be in “rest mode” when you first wake up or when falling asleep while in “stress mode” when doing things like a solid workout.
Remember, everyone’s HRV is different — keep tabs on your own range and really get acquainted with what causes a change in your HRV in one direction or the other. Just learn to listen to your heart — in a scientific way, that is.
Learn to listen to your heart – in a scientific way, that’s it.