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What You Need to Know About Heart Rate Variability (HRV)


What if every morning when you wake up your body can tell you how it feels?


We like to think our heartbeat is consistent, like clockwork, keeping the same precise beat at all times. The heart is the hardest working organ in your body. The heart works like a pump sending blood around your body to keep you alive. It is a muscle, about the size of your fist, in the middle of your chest tilted slightly to the left.

Every day, your heart beats around 100,000 times. This continuously pumps about eight pints of blood around your body through a network of blood vessels called your circulatory system. This blood delivers oxygen and nutrients to all parts of your body to help your organs and muscles work properly. Your blood also carries away unwanted carbon dioxide and waste products.


Heart rate variability tells us a lot about critical factors like your physical fitness, tension, and sleep.

We will explore what heart rate variability is and how to improve them.


What is Heart Rate Variability?


You often hear the term HRV in relation to sleep, training, and tension but what exactly does it mean?

A healthy heart is not a device that keeps a regular rhythm, the time between each beat varies. The heart rate is the number of times your heart beats in the space of a minute. Heart rate variability measures the fluctuation in the time intervals between adjacent heartbeats. This beat to beat interval variation is measured in milliseconds and can vary depending on a number of factors.


For example, the interval between heartbeats is generally longer on your exhales and shorter when you inhale. If your heart rate is 60 beats per minute, the time between these beats is rarely one exact second. Within the same minute, you could have a 0.8 second interval between one set of heartbeats and then a 1.13 second interval between another set.


Why should this all be measured? This tiny fraction of a second is anything but insignificant. It can tell you a lot about your body, providing insights that are helpful to understanding your health and well-being, from how well you recover at night to the presence of heart conditions or tension.


What Is Good Heart Rate Variability?


You are probably wondering what is normal when it comes to heart rate variability. It is imperative to understand that this metric is particular to you and is not something that you can compare with others. The only person worth measuring against is yourself and how your HRV has been in recent weeks.

Keep in mind, physical factors, often beyond our control, influence your heart rate variability too. In general, younger people tend to have higher HRV numbers than older people. Your HRV will decrease as you age, and it is normal for you to experience daily fluctuations. What is normal for you is that this month may be different from next month and next year.


See below, the best time to measure your HRV is while you are sleeping. Sometimes your HRV score will be influenced by factors that affect your sleep and other physiological signs.


High HRV is usually a sign that:

  • Good cardiovascular fitness

  • Resting and recovering well

  • Currently more resilient to tension

Low HRV is usually a sign that:

  • Tension

  • Unbalanced diet

  • Inactive lifestyle

  • Sleep disorders

  • Medical conditions

How To Improve Heart Rate Variability


Taking care of your mental well-being can improve your HRV, especially when it comes to managing tension. Understanding what causes tension in your life and learning to manage it with tools and techniques, including wearable technology, can have an enormous impact on how good you feel and your HRV.


Caring for your heart is another vital way to improve your heart rate variability. A nutritional diet and regular exercise will boost your physical well-being and enhance your cardiovascular fitness.


Tips To Improve Heart Rate Variability


Improving your HRV has a lot to do with living a healthy lifestyle. Here are some tips that have shown a positive impact on HRV.


SCHEDULE RECOVERY DAYS

Intense workouts on too many consecutive days without a day of rest or recovery can leave your body feeling run down. It is a good idea to schedule active recovery workouts or recovery days following intense workouts. For muscle recovery and inflammation try our Simple Pleasures CBD Salve.


MAKE HYDRATION A PRIORITY

You need to hydrate! Being hydrated can improve circulation and make it easier for your blood to deliver oxygen to the body. This can have a direct impact on your workouts, health, and overall tension.


GET SERIOUS ABOUT NUTRITION

Did you know that alcohol can affect your heart rate variability for as long as five days? Poor nutrition can also have an impact on how your body feels while working out.


BE CONSISTENT

Your body will adapt to your intense workouts more easily when you are consistent. This can involve things like working out at the same time of day, having a set sleep schedule, and avoiding those random binge nights with junk food on the weekdays. It is ok to have cheat days on the weekends, just moderation!


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