Heart rate variability (HRV) is the measure of the time gap between two heart beats while the body is at rest. It is sometimes called the “heart period variability,” the “cycle length variability,” and the “RR variability,” with the last referring to the high points of an EKG graph.
A low HRV has been associated with such conditions as diabetes, some types of heart disease and cirrhosis. It is also seen in people who are under a great deal of stress.
Why does the HRV matter?
Generally speaking, having a high heart rate variability is better than having a low one. But a very high HRV can indicate arrhythmia that reduces the efficiency of physiological functioning.
Athletes often track their HRVs to check for signs of overtraining which can result in fatigue, injury or illness. Overtraining is just that: the athlete is exercising too much and not getting enough rest.
Consequently, their body does not get a chance to recover or repair itself after a session of exercise. Not only does the body need proper rest to function at its peak, but it also needs proper food and a minimum of chronic stress.
How can you tell if you’ve overtrained?
An athlete who is overtraining will either reach a plateau or decline in their performance. They will also become tired and develop odd food cravings or mood disturbances.
How does somebody measure their HRV?
An athlete can use the ithlete to measure their HRV. It’s a device that is a receiver and app that can work with an iPhone. When it’s connected to a chest strap heart monitor, it can record the athlete’s resting heart rate for one minute and use the result to calculate the HRV.
The device also shows the heart and lungs working, stores the athlete’s information, and makes graphs of their results.
How do you use ithlete?
The athlete should take their ithlete HRV measurement first thing in the morning to avoid the influence of such variables as caffeine or stress. They may use a finger sensor or heart monitor to record their HRV; whatever they use, they need to use the same position every day. Otherwise, they will skew the data if they sit one day and stand the next.
What are the benefits of using an ithlete?
The biggest benefit of using the ithlete is that the athlete can tailor their workout in such a way as to avoid injury. Most workout injuries occur when the athlete is tired or stressed. If the ithlete indicates the athlete needs to rest, they can do so and avoid hurting themselves.
Another benefit is that a properly rested athlete will get more out of their training when they resume it the next day. An athlete can even use the ithlete to schedule their workouts around competitions or athletic events. That way, they can be at their best on those days when it counts the most.
If you’re interested in heart rate variability training, contact Knox Wellness today to make an appointment.