This article provides a brief overview on what HRV means and how Loops measures it.
For an in-depth analysis about HRV, visit our Loops Guide to Heart Rate Variability
WHAT IS HEART RATE VARIABILITY?
Heart Rate Variability (HRV) is a measure of the variation in time between the beats of your heart. Heart Rate is commonly defined as a number of beats per minute, however those beats don’t occur at the same interval each time, the variability in time between these is what we refer to as Heart Rate Variability.
HRV AND THE AUTONOMIC NERVOUS SYSTEM
HRV is controlled by a part of the nervous system called the autonomic nervous system (ANS). Our ANS controls our involuntary bodily functions like our heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, digestion, etc. HRV is a non-invasive way to identify these internal imbalances and get insight into the autonomic nervous system.
The nervous system subdivided into two branches:
1) The parasympathetic nervous system (PNS), often referred to as the “rest-and-digest” network, kicks in during calmer moments to cause a decrease in your heart rate. Examples of parasympathetic activation include deep breathing techniques as well as mediation and yoga.
2) The sympathetic nervous system (SNS), often referred to as the “fight-or-flight” network, kicks in to respond to stressors by increasing your heart rate. Just about any activity that requires you to be sharp and ready for action can be example of sympathetic activation. However, it is important to remember too much sympathetic activation can be a sign of prolonged stress, overtraining, and/or poor sleep.
Loops measures your daily HRV to identify these internal imbalances and to identify which branch is most active. HRV research has shown to produce optimal fitness outcomes when participants in studies altered their workout intensity based on their Daily HRV reading.
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