Are you constantly pushing both your body and mind to perform at a high level? Wouldn’t it be nice to know exactly when you can pump the gas and when you need more time to recover?
Then keep reading because I am going to show you exactly how you can use Heart Rate Variability to do just that!
Heart Rate Variability or HRV is a fantastic tool to see the health and strength of your nervous system. Anytime that you are pushing your body whether that be physically like exercise or mentally like work projects this is going to be a stress on your nervous system. Luckily our bodies are very good at dealing with this stress and repairing the damage.
Up to a point…
If you are constantly pushing your body and mind to perform, but are not giving it adequate time to recover (think burning the candle at both ends) eventually your performance is going to start to suffer. This leads to things like injuries, decreased motivation, brain fog, and eventually to more serious conditions like adrenal fatigue or even adrenal failure.
This is where HRV comes in. If you are able to assess the overall condition of your nervous system quickly and easily then you can avoid disaster. You will know when you need to hold up and take that extra day off of training, or by contrast, know that your body and mind are ready for whatever you are going to throw at it.
But how do you actually use HRV?
Now, this is important so Pay Attention!
In order to get accurate HRV measurements, you must measure at the same time of the day, in the same position, for the same length of time. For example, I measure my own HRV in the morning right after getting up. I lay on my back for 5 minutes. This may seem unnecessary, but small changes like position and time of day can have huge effects on HRV readings.
In simple terms, you need to be able to compare apples to apples.
Now you really need to have at least 3 consecutive measurements in order to obtain a proper baseline. This will give you a reference point that you can then compare to. If your numbers start to decrease or severely decrease then it’s time to take a recovery day. Go on a long walk, do some yoga or meditation. Don’t go crush your body at the gym or do a really hard triathlon training session that day.
HRV measurements also allow you to determine how effective you are at recovering. Say for instance that you are not getting enough protein in your diet. This would put you in a state of catabolism and your body will not be able to heal properly. This would be easily seen in your HRV measurements because it would take a really long time for you to adequately recover from a very stressful situation again whether that be a hard workout or something like losing your job.
As you can see Heart Rate Variability is a fantastic tool giving you objective data to determine the overall health and strength of your nervous system. If implemented you will be able to know what days are good to train hard and when you should take it easy. It also gives you the ability to objectively measure how well you are recovering and if new biohacks or strategies are actually worth your time.
If you are interested in using HRV to improve your own performance then make sure to reach out to me. I am taking a small number of clients to track their Heart Rate Variability data as well as other lifestyle strategies so that they can Live Better, Live Longer, and Do More!
How do you use HRV? Are you using it more to monitor your physical stress, mental stress, or both? Let me know in the comments below. Also, make sure to subscribe and follow for more scientifically proven strategies.
Again this is Floyd Meyer reminding you to Live Better so you can Do More!
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