“The great thing, then, in all education, is to make our nervous system our ally instead of our enemy.” – William James
William James was an American philosopher and psychologist, and the first educator to offer a psychology course in the United States. James is a leading thinker of the late nineteenth century, one of the most influential philosophers of the United States, and the “Father of American psychology”
I’ve included this quote and a little history here to provide context to today’s blog post on delving deeper into heart-rate variability. Why? Because mastering HRV will cause your nervous system to work for you rather than against you.
Heart rate variability measures not only timing differences in your heartbeat as you inhale and exhale, it also measures the overall state of your nervous system. It’s an indicator of autonomic nervous system imbalance.
Many in the research and science communities believe it’s the best overall biometric for charting a path to improved health and optimal growth in performance.
Here’s another interesting bit of research. Did you know that changes in heart rate variability (HRV) is correlated with 9 out of the 10 leading causes of death in the United States?
The underlying theme in all these deaths is disease. More and more researchers across many fields now believe that these diseases are linked by a loss of autonomic nervous system function.
Research is still new, but most researchers also believe that this loss of function has a cause-and-effect relationship with many of our organ systems. For example, as our cardiovascular system deteriorates, the resulting inflammation degrades autonomic nervous system functioning, which further harms the cardiovascular system.
The next logical question is then if you want to avoid this is how do you measure your HRV? To measure HRV you need a software program, an app on a device you own and a finger sensor to achieve accurate measurement.
Next, it’s important to measure in a consistent way. Take a reading at a similar time, physical state and position daily. A single day measure has some value, values measured consistently over time are extremely valuable. At Tiger, our clients complete this task daily in the morning before they start their day. We call this insight the “Morning Readiness Reading”.
Taking a Readiness reading each morning is the key to an accurate snapshot of your body’s daily stress load and capacity.
Clients in our community use the Indicator to:
- tailor their workout for the day
- decide when to take it easy
- tinker with sleep and nutrition
- understand the impact of their mental stress
- build deep self-awareness
- and much more
Don Moxley, MA, Ohio State University has researched HRV in athletic performance. The research shows HRV is a predictor of athletic success. Overall, HRV is mapped to improved recovery, improved performance (sports and life) and poor HRV is correlated to all-cause mortality.
My goal here is to catalyze action on your part to search out a way to begin measuring your HRV and then acting on the data. There are many apps and systems available to do this. The devil is in the details and interpretation. We are here to help you with those details.
So, take action, I want you to begin making your nervous system, in particular, your Autonomic Nervous System your ally!
In my next post I’ll get into the specifics of how to improve your HRV so you can start to see how you might positively impact your health and performance.
(Source: https://www.hrvcourse.com/hrv-demographics-health-medication-guidelines/ with multiple citations within this document)