Heart rate variability (HRV) is the physiological phenomenon of variation in the time interval between heartbeats.
What does that mean? Our hearts don’t beat at regular intervals. There may be a heart beat 1 second after the previous beat, the next beat might be 1.2 seconds later, and another may be 0.75 seconds after. It varies and that variance changes all day long depending on what we’re doing, what we’re thinking, how we’re feeling, how much we eat, how hydrated we are, etc.
I learned about HRV five or six years ago and used the iOS app ithelete paired with a chest strap to track my HRV each morning. It was a pain in the ass and it was really tough to get any meaningful results. Fast forward to 2019 and I wear a WHOOP band, which automatically handles all of the HRV readings and data. It has become a very valuable tool for my exercise and recovery.
If you’d like to learn more about HRV, I highly recommend the latest episode of the WHOOP podcast, Podcast No. 29: Heart Rate Variability (HRV), with Kristen Holmes and Emily Capodilupo. They did an amazing job explaining what HRV is, why it’s important, how it can be used, how WHOOP uses it, and strategies for improving your own HRV. I learned a ton from listening to this episode.