Elite and college athletes have been using heart rate variability (HRV) as a way to measure their true recovery status for many years. When their HRV measurement is low on a given training day, that is indicative of the need for a light training day. Sometimes, college coaches would use it to determine if their athletes were out “playing” a little too hard the night before.
What is HRV?
HRV sensors measure the intervals of the human heart beat. HRV is actually the variation in time between heart beats. The higher the HRV, the healthier the person and the more ready that person is for working out/training. The lower the HRV, especially over time, the more predisposed that person is for chronic disease and associated health problems.
HRV does fluctuate on a daily basis, but when you track it over time, you can really assess how predisposed you are for either vibrant health or chronic disease. If it’s low, there are many things that can help you shift back to the vibrant health trajectory.
I am not an elite athlete, why should I care?
The simple answer is that everyone should care about their HRV status. If you are an athlete, overtraining leads to injuries and forced downtime from training. For those non-athletes, the feeling you have when someone cuts you off in traffic is not good, especially if you live in that chronically stressed, annoyed state.
Tracking your HRV is an easy, relatively inexpensive way for you to connect back into your body and your health in general. This key biometric can tell you why you are falling asleep in meetings, why you might have brain fog and why you don’t have energy to play with your kids after work.
The HeartMath Institute, one of the leading research organizations in this area sells relatively inexpensive, easy to use HRV monitors. They also have an app that guides you through the breathing to correct any low HRV results. I recommend Inner Balance as the app and sensor to use at home for my clients. It guides you through a breath meditation that helps you sync breath to your HRV to raise it. I have no financial connection with the company, other than I own two myself.
At Infinity Healing, we use HeartQuest, which is an amazing HRV system to assess your autonomic nervous system, the functioning of the sympathetic, parasympathetic, and neurohormonal backup systems. When you come in for a therapy, we can track your status before and after to assess how well you responded to the therapy. We can also talk to you about things you can do at home to improve your HRV. Cold therapy and meditation affect HRV very positively (think cryotherapy, float room, light labyrinth, and UrielTones) and the NovoTHOR bed also helps get it trending in the right direction. These are very powerful, detoxifying therapies, so we are seeing dips in people’s HRV, initially. Once you get past that initial detox, we see the HRV trending upwards.
To your vibrant health!