What you should know about heart rate variability–a biometric most fitness trackers measure

What you should know about heart rate variability–a biometric most fitness trackers measure

This article was originally published on The Conversation

Your heart beatsAround 100,000 times per day.Heart rateIt is an indicator of cardiovascular activity and a vital sign. Your pulse is not as steady and accurate as a precision clock, nor would it be if you wanted it to.

As a cardiovascular physiologistIn almost every experiment that my students and me do, I measure the heart rate. Sometimes, we use anElectrocardiogramA medical clinic uses sticky electrodes to measure electrical signals between two points on your body. Sometimes, we use a chest monitor, such as one you might see at the gym. This monitor also detects heartbeats using electrical activity.

Wearable technology is becoming more popular and not only cardiologists and researchers are monitoring heart rate. A fitness tracker that you wear on your wrist might allow you to monitor your heart rate all day. This type of wearable deviceUses green light to detect blood flowIt is located beneath your skin and determines your heart rate.

Here are some of the most important biometrics that can be used to determine your body’s health.

Pumping blood to where it is needed

The primary function of the heart is to contract and create pressure. This helps pump blood to the lungs and then to other parts of the body to provide oxygen. Your heart rate simply refers to the speed at which your heart beats. It’s also known as a pulse rate and is usually expressed in beats per hour. You canCount your heart rateFeel your pulse by feeling behind your jaw or inside your wrist.

Your heart rate will rise when your body requires more oxygen, as in exercise.

Many people are familiar with monitoring their heart rate during exertion. However, it can also be useful to monitor the resting heart rate. These two parts are called theautonomic nervous systemsThe resting heart rate is affected by the parasympathetic and sympathetic branches. The sympathetic branch coordinates your body’s stress response. It is active when it is most active. This increases your heart rate and prepares you for fight or flight.

Parasympathetic branches of your nervous system are responsible for maintaining a lot of your body’s functions in a smooth manner while you’re relaxed. The parasympathetic nervous systems actively slows down the heart to maintain a resting rate between 0 and 2 p.m. via the vagus nerve, which runs from the brain to the abdomen.60 and 100 beatsFor an average adult, this is approximately 100 beats per minute. Your heart rate would be approximately 100 beats per hour if there was no parasympathetic activity that impedes the sympathetic nervous system from sending out its signals.

A lower resting heart beat indicates a more efficient heart and higher levels of parasympathetic activity. Your nervous system is at rest and minimizes sympathetic activity. This allows you to conserve energy and avoid unnecessary stress.

What you need to know about heart rate variability - a biometric most fitness trackers measure
The chart of a heart beat shows tiny differences in the spacing between the peak representing heartbeats. YitzhakNat via Wikimedia Commons,CC BY – SA

Time between each heartbeat

One way to understand the influence of the nervous system on heart rate is to look atVariability in heart rateThe slight fluctuation between each heartbeat is known as HRV, or Heart Rate Variability. Your heart rate may be 60 beats per minute, but that doesn’t mean it is pumping at the same speed every second.

A lower level of variability indicates that your body is under more stress. This is because your autonomic nervous systems is tilting towards the sympathetic branch. You’re likely to be more relaxed, and your parasympathetic nerve system is in charge.

Scientists have been interested for nearly 30 years inHow to measure and interpret HRVParticularly in relation to the balance of autonomic control.

After cardiac events, patients experienced clinical benefits from HRV. Researchers are now looking at how this measure could help to explain patient outcomes in a variety of settings.cardiac,endocrineAndpsychiatricdisorders.

Researchers have been investigating this issue more recently.How to use HRVInAthletic training and prognosis for medical conditions.

Many fitness wearables also reportVariability in heart rateYou can use it as aStand-alone metricUsed in the calculation of “readiness”, or “recovery”, scores.Endurance athletes often track their HRVAs a way to monitor their overall physiological condition.

Researchers are now trying to determine whichWearable devices that are commercially available are the most reliable and accurateThe HRV can be measured with different trackers. Many of these devices use colored light, or optical sensors to measure pulse rate, and other variables at the wrist, finger, or on the finger. Unfortunately, theThe accuracy of this method may vary depending on skin type and skin colour. To address potential health disparities, it is important that diverse populations are included in the design, validation, and testing of these products.

In a positive direction, nudging HRV

Stress is a major factor in heart rate variability. It is also associated with higher HRV. Stress-reducing interventions,biofeedbackAndIncreased fitnessThis can increase heart rate variability. An increase in this metric is considered good. Overall,Variability in heart rate depends onA variety of genetic factors can be modified, including environmental, lifestyle, and physiological.Factors.

Data trends are the best way to evaluate heart rate variability as an metric. Are there any consistent changes in HRV in either of these directions? These changes should be viewed alongside other health factors like mood, fitness, illness, sleep, and diet to determine if there are any lifestyle modifications that you might want to make.

The general rule of thumb is that theSimilar approachesYou would also consider that lowering your resting heart rate can improve heart rate variability and increase cardiovascular fitness.

It is important to remember that heart beat variability is a normal, healthy, very slight fluctuation in the timing of heartbeats. This difference is only milliseconds from beat to beat. The more dramatic changes in heart rhythms, or the way the heart contracts, are known asarrhythmiasIf you have a fever, this could indicate a more serious condition that needs medical attention.

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