Heart rate variability (HRV)is an interesting and easy to use tool to measure fatigue and recovery. HRV is being used in numerous pro sports arenas to facilitate optimal fitness. Basically HRV tells you what days you can push hard, and what days you need to focus more on recovery.
Not a pro athlete?
No problem. HRV is also a great measure of your day to day stress levels, or more importantly how well you and your nervous system are adapting to your current stress levels. As stress levels go up, immune function goes down. Stay in a state of chronic stress and your physiology will ‘shift’. Adrenal fatigue, blood sugar dysregulation, thyroid imbalances and altered neurotransmitters are potentially all apart of the chronic stress picture. Not a pretty picture, and a big reason stress is linked to the major chronic illnesses that plague our society - Heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer, and depression.
Your heart gets direct innervation from both sympathetic (fight or flight) and parasympathetic (rest and recovery). Kind of like receiving signals from both the gas pedal and the brake. The balance of these two stimuli determines wether you are more in a stress physiology or a more balanced rest/recovery mode.
This is exactly what HRV measures- the state of stress you are under at that moment!
Use an app on your phone to measure HRV and you will get a snapshot that represents your stress ‘score’. Call us or drop in to ask more details of which are our favorite apps and tools.
Last thought to connect the dots- one of the most powerful ways to optimize your ability to adapt to stress is the Chiropractic Adjustment! Adjustments act like a reset button for your stress response. Additionally, by helping your spine to move better, you ultimately feed a better quality of ‘input’ into your brain, giving you better health.