HRV, or heart rate variability, is an important metric that your Apple Watch can measure. However, watchOS and iOS don’t have the necessary integration to put this data to good use. Luckily, third-party apps do a great job of this. Below we will explain what heart rate variability is, why this indicator is important and how to track it on Apple Watch and iPhone.

What is heart rate variability?

HRV or heart rate variability is the difference in time intervals between adjacent heartbeats. You may not be able to tell these differences yourself, but your Apple Watch reads HRV differences in milliseconds.

Some medical experts believe that the measurement of HRV through the skin with smartwatch and other similar trackers cannot be as accurate as with the help of special equipment. However, studies prove that Apple Watch measurements are just as accurate as professional heart rate monitors.

Why is HRV important?

You might think otherwise, but high heart rate variability is a sign of health and lack of stress. It also means that you are recovered and ready to exercise.

Many health and fitness professionals consider HRV to be one of the best indicators that your body needs rest or that it is ready to perform at its best.

Here is how   HRV is described on the Cleveland Clinic website:

The variability of your heart rate shows how well your body can adapt to different conditions. If you have a high HRV, it means that your body adapts well to various changes. Those with high HRV experience less anxiety and feel happier.

If you have a low HRV, it means that your body does not adapt well to changes, and you may have health problems in the future.

What is the norm for HRV?

HRV is a very individual metric and it changes all the time. It also depends on many factors, including physical and mental health, stress, diet, alcohol consumption, sleep patterns, age, gender, genetics, exercise, etc.

Heart rate variability can vary greatly even throughout the day, so it makes no sense to check your rate every hour. Don’t compare your HRV to someone else’s, just try to keep track of yours from time to time.

Here is the average HRV for people of different ages from Whoop :

How to view HRV measurements from Apple Watch

If you’re over 18, your Apple Watch automatically tracks your heart rate variability. You can view the data through the Health app on your iPhone.

  • Open  the Health app  on your iPhone.
  • Select  the Browse tab in the lower right corner .
  • Now select  Heart  >  Heart Rate Variability .
  • At the top, you can view HRV data by day, week, month, and more.

How to measure HRV on Apple Watch

You’ll get more accurate data if you manually measure heart rate variability on your Apple Watch while you’re resting. It is best to do this every day at the same time.

  • To measure your HRV on your Apple Watch, open  the Mindfulness app and select  Breathing .
  • Shortly thereafter, the new HRV data will appear in the Health app on iPhone.

How to use your HRV?

The Health app does not provide guidance on how to use your heart rate variability data. It is important to know that a high HRV is good. But what can be done to improve it?

The Training Today app   has great recommendations. When you give the app access to your HRV data in the Health app, it will make recommendations for you. The app will tell you to “keep moving but listen to your body” or say you’re “ready for your peak performance.”

Training Today has a user-friendly multi-colored interface with really useful recommendations.

The Training Today app can be  downloaded for free from the App Store  and unlocked with in-app purchases.

Another good third-party app is  HRV4Training , but it’s already paid.

If you have a  Polar heart rate monitor ,  Suunto , etc., the  Elite HRV app will also work for you  with more detailed data.

How to improve your HRV

  • go in for sports
  • Eat Right
  • Keep a consistent sleep pattern
  • Drink enough water
  • Don’t drink alcohol
  • Do breathing exercises
  • Meditate
  • temper yourself
  • Keep a diary

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