Heart Rate Variability (HRV) is an accurate, non-invasive measure of your Autonomic Nervous System (ANS).
Your ANS drives everything from; how you move, how you recover (adequately or poorly), your food choices, your sleep quality and very much your perception and balance of lifestyle (mental & emotional) stress.
Unlike assessing your heart rate in total beats per minute (e.g., via a heart rate monitor), HRV looks much closer at the exact changes in time between successive heartbeats. This is also called inter-beat intervals, or RR intervals.
HRV provides an (algorithm) score (…/100) based on the calculation of average variance time between beats over a minute.
Stay with me….
Ultimately, HRV assesses and scores your collective balance of ‘lifestyle’ stress.
The higher the score, the better your balance of lifestyle stress (Mentally, Emotionally, Physically and Nutritionally)!
• Prepares your body for physical activity; exercise, trauma, arousal, competition, anger, and fear.
• Your heart rate increases, blood pressure elevates, airflow increases, blood glucose level spikes, etc.
• Your digestive tract shuts down, body temperature increases, and muscle recruitment heightens.
• Your Concentration and sharpness is boosted.
All this is good if you’re running away from a Lion!
• Calms many of your bodily functions, economising energy expenditure, and assist in your wellness and bodily maintenance.
• Your blood pressure lowers, drives your most comfortable body temperature, and your fat burning metabolism is amplified.
• The removal of wastes (including exercise-induced waste) is increased, immunity bolstered, and your hydration balance is restored.
• Your tolerance and reasoning is 'best’.
All this is good, ‘most of the time!
While your sympathetic nervous system is a major benefit when necessary, if your SNS (fight or flight) switch is left ON, this is not good for your long term health and wellness. Common signs and symptoms of an ‘over-amped SNS, free of parasympathetic balance, are;
NOTE - commonly, my data suggests the following list is associated with those individuals; over-training, a work/life imbalance, and very much the harbouring of internal 'fight' between the ears!
◊ Lingering colds & flu,
◊ Niggling and abiding muscle & joint aches,
◊ Difficulty falling to sleep, and waking ‘around’ 1-3am - preventing a return to nutritious sleep,
◊ Lowering tolerance and interest in communication (at work & home),
◊ Lowering self-confidence, motivation and belief,
◊ Weight gain, usually around the stomach,
◊ Craving for sugary food,
◊ Being caught out of breath, easily!
When one's parasympathetic (recovery & calmness) switch is ON, 98% of the time, one can expect the following;
NOTE - my data indicates those experiencing the list below, usually; exercise regularly, eat cleanly, chill-out intermittently, and prioritise sleep.
◊ Motivated for work,
◊ Interested in new tasks,
◊ Sleep solidly for 6-8hrs, including nutritious REM,
◊ Keen to exercise, and early in the day,
◊ Comfortable sitting for longer periods, if required,
◊ Regular bowel movements,
◊ Improved listening skills,
◊ Hunger satisfied for long periods.