Coming back at you with some more knowledge bombs and nerd science.
Luckily though this time I’m actually going to make sense and talk about something that you’ll be able to apply and use in real life!
It’s actually something which elite athletes have used for awhile, but only just recently tapped for the wider market.
It’s called Heart Rate Variability.
What is Heart Rate Variability?
Secondly, how does this help us? And how we can we tap into this awesome technology?
Heart Rate Variability (which I’ll refer to as HRV from now on) is basically the time between heartbeats. The reason this is important is because it tells us whether your body is in a stressed state or not.
When you are stressed (whether this be exercise, work or whatever) your heart gets told to pump continuously in order to provide your muscles with blood. Even though we might be sitting down at our desks, when we’re stressed, this is what our heart is doing.
Now this may sound correct - that your heart beats consistently in order to supply blood to the muscles.
But we’re finding out that when you’re in a relaxed state, your heart actually beats inconsistently, with small variations in between beats.
But the fact is, when we’re chilled out our muscles don’t need that consistent supply of blood, yes they need some, but not a consistent supply over and over.
So your heart just calms down a little and beats a little more infrequently.
How does this help us?
Well when we start looking and recording data on heart rates, we can see whether people are living in a chronically stressed states or related states.
This can tell us how much or how little work we need to do in order to really relax ourselves. Whether this is getting more sleep, going for a massage or whatever it is.
Imagine having an actual piece of data telling you that you are stressed, or some real numbers to back up how you’re feeling?
Pretty powerful stuff!
How can I use this?
Well you would use it to help gauge how you should structure your day and/or training.
if someone is stressed, they need to take their training a little lighter and take a step towards aiding their recovering (e.g. massage or a bath or catch a movie).
On the flip side, if someone is looking really relaxed, we know that they can smash their training and take on that big work task which has been pushed aside.
How to get hold of this?
The best way is to get hold of a Polar H7 (or similar) heart rate monitor (you can get these at almost all sports shops) and use a free app (we recommend Elite HRV).
From there you just have to follow the instructions and then start paying attention to whats going on and start making small changes to help you stay stress free!
- Coach D.