Advanced indicators and data used to be something that only professional athletes with cutting-edge technology and a team of medical experts could benefit from. Fortunately, technological advancements have made receiving data such as heart rate variability (HRV) more accessible than ever.
Nowadays, the health of the cardiovascular system and the progress of the current training program can be easily monitored. Whether you are a runner, a cyclist or a fitness enthusiast, it is important to understand how to take advantage of the benefits of heart rate variability. So here is an explanation of HRV-the way and reason for tracking this indicator.
What is heart rate variability?
Although heart rate refers to the number of heart beats per minute, heart rate variability (HRV) measures the time between each heart beat. Also known as the RR interval, this change in beat-to-beat interval is measured in milliseconds and can vary based on many factors.
For example, the interval between heartbeats is usually longer during exhalation and shorter during inhalation. Therefore, even if your heart rate is 60 beats per minute, the time between these heartbeats is rarely accurate to one second. In the same minute, you can have 0.8 seconds between one set of heartbeats, and then 1.13 seconds between another set of heartbeats. The interval between heartbeats is not the same. If you want to know your heart rate variability, you can monitor it through a smart watch with HRV monitoring function.
This may seem too scientific and may not be so useful for everyday amateur athletes. However, it can answer the question "What is HRV?" In fact, it can provide important information about the overall health and the progress of the current training program.
There are many factors that can affect or change your HRV metrics. These include:
· Exercise volume and intensity
· Rest and recover from exercise
· Chronic health conditions
· Sleep habits and sleep quality
· Age and gender
Another reason why the heart rate varies so much is our nervous system. Our parasympathetic nervous system receives input from organs, which causes a drop in heart rate. On the other hand, the sympathetic nervous system responds to external factors such as exercise and stress, and increases the heart rate.
These synchronizing signals sent by the two branches of our nervous system to our heart cause it to fluctuate constantly, directly affecting the heart rate variability numbers.
What is average heart rate variability?
As we have seen, heart rate variability depends on many different factors. This makes it a highly personalized indicator that is difficult to compare from person to person. Instead, it may be more useful to monitor these data to understand the trend of your own baseline indicators of heart rate variability.
Having said that, high heart rate variability numbers may indicate that the heart is functioning well, adapting to environmental stress, and seeing an improvement in health. But keep in mind that this indicator can be sensitive and fluctuate from day to day.
In general, young people tend to have higher HRV values than older people, men’s HRV values are usually higher than women’s, and elite athletes’ HRV values are almost higher than everyone else.
Above, we talked about heart rate variability and average heart rate variability, but did not mention how to monitor heart rate variability. The monitoring of heart rate variability is mainly divided into two types: one is mainly monitored by traditional medical equipment, which is cumbersome and difficult to obtain. Another way is by wearing a smart watch with HRV monitoring function. This monitoring method is convenient, effective, and accurate. Huawei, Apple, Samsung, OPPO, Xiaomi, Huami, Veepoo and other manufacturers have developed the HRV function to the extreme and put it into use on their products, especially Veepoo’s newly developed product Watch RIG, whose ECG signal sampling frequency can reach 512HZ. And in 2021, OnePlus and Meizu also joined the smart watch market. When using Watch RIG for HRV monitoring, it only takes 30 seconds to get the result. Now the standard of HRV monitoring has reached the medical level. In the future, the application of HRV in smart watches will be more accurate.
Let us look forward to HRV technology in smart watches.