Heart Rate Variability

                                                                                                                        What is heart rate variability (HRV)?

                                                      Our heart does not beat at a constant frequency. Heart rate variability (HRV) is the physiological phenomenon of variation in the time interval between heartbeats. 

                                                      It is measured by the variation in thebeat-to-beat interval. 

                                                      HRV is an accurate, non-invasive measure of the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) – which responds to everything: how you exercise, recover, eat, sleep and perceive

                                                      stress. Unlike basic heart rate (HR) that counts the number of heartbeats per minute, HRV looks much closer at the exact changes in time between successive heartbeats

                                                      (also called inter-beat intervals, RR intervals, NN intervals, etc). 

                                                                                                                       

                                                                                                     Heart Rate Variability and the Autonomic Nervous System

                                                     HRV is regulated by the autonomic nervous system (ANS), and its sympathetic and parasympathetic branches, and it is commonly accepted as a non-invasive marker

                                                     of autonomic nervous system activity. The sympathetic branch of the ANS is the stress or fight or flight system, getting us ready to act, react, and perform – to meet the

                                                     different demands that life throws at us. The parasympathetic side is characterized as the rest and digest system that allows the body to power down and recover “once

                                                     the fight is over”. The sympathetic branch activates stress hormone production and increases the heart’s contraction rate and force (cardiac output) and decreases HRV,

                                                     which is needed during exercise and mentally or physically stressful situations. Conversely, the parasympathetic branch slows the heart rate and increases HRV to restore

                                                     homeostasis after the stress passes. This natural interplay between the two systems allows the heart to quickly respond to different situations and needs.


                                                                                                                      Application of Heart Rate Variability

                                                     Today, we can use HRV to:                                                    

                                           ◆Improve resilience and adaptability

                                           ◆Reduce stress

                                           Optimize training and recovery

                                           Personalize nutrition and sleep

                                           Improve mental health – mood, depression, anxiety

                                           Improve mental performance and cognition

                                           Identify risk of disease, morbidity and mortality

                                           Measure systemic inflammation

                                           Track progress and guide treatment plans

                                           Re-balance the nervous system with live biofeedback

                                           Objectively understand motivation and willpower

                                           Provide early warning signs for changes in health, overtraining or maladaptation