Heart Rate Variability

Sunfox Technologies

Posted on - October 4th, 2020

Research has developed ways in which HRV has predicted many health related ssues. From being able to know about stress to predict illness in athletes HRV has proved to be a solution for many out there.

HRV is the measure of inter- heartbeat variations for a given time period. These variations in heart rate provide important information about the Autonomic Nervous system. The ANS comprises two branches the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system.

SNS and PSNS are both essential for recovery and performance. SNS is the branch that leads to excitement in the body in stressful situations. They activate the adrenaline and noradrenalin hormones and prepare body for stress. On the otherhand parasympathetic nervous system works towards decreasing the heart rate and blood pressure. It basically helps in recovery after stressful events.

Having variation is good, in fact more variations show that the parasympathetic branch of nervous system is performing well as a regulator. The adjustments of the two in the external and internal stimuli are what that provides the variations. These variations further tell ways to measure how training load, fatigue and physiological stress may be affecting our body. HRV monitoring is so appealing because of its time efficient and inexpensive features.

HRV and it's importance in sports

HRV as a tool has been commandeered by the sports community as recovery and training metric. Almost all sportsmen out there are seen with their personal training toolbox an addition to that box is the Heart Rate Variability.

HRV shows the ANS functioning and therefore is the major reason that it is being used in the sports world today. It has shown its worth and does so by not only identifying the periods of optimal training but also by monitor the recovery status and the potential overtraining.

HRV and Performance

HRV guided training refers to training that is being done on the basis of HRV score. For example if the HRV of an athlete is normal or higher than normal then they can perform intense training exercises. Alternatively when it is below normal then doing les intensive exercise is recommended. Doing the pre planned exercise on the other hand doesn’t cater your body needs as you are prescribed to do training without your health taken into consideration. This not only affects the performance of the athlete but may also lead to injury.HRV guided training are said to be more beneficial than the other as it improves aerobic performance.

Use of HRV to monitor and improve sports physiology

Training must meet the ability of the athlete, muscle, strength, endurance and flexibility should be considered. The ability to adapt to different intense training session, the load and recovery are few of many which must be analyzed for the athlete’s performance. HRV has proved to be the best suitable solution as it reflects majority of the effects that physical exercise may lead to. Having long term HRV change during a prolonged period is said to be a good indicator of athlete’s adaptation towards the training routine.

Managing stress and HRV

Imbalance between physical and mental health due to harmful stimuli causes stress. During chronic stress, the sympathetic nervous system is hyper activated, causing physical, psychological, and behavioral abnormalities. It is believed that training load gives an indication to physical stress; HRV helps to provide a good indication of the effect of stress. HRV reflects stress and when studied together each of the variables gives a clear insight of stress and how it is being handled. When the HRV trend is stable and high fluctuation are noticed then stress is being well handled.

It seems that HRV has been the great tool towards good recovery and effect of recovery monitoring on the athletes. According to many sports coaches HRV measurement is not only great to know oneself physically but also mentally. It is important to know what causes stress and what helps us to recover from it.