HRV is a valuable metric that’s measured by Apple Watch, however, there’s no native integration in watchOS or iOS to better understand and make use of the data – leaving that to third-party apps. Below we’ll cover what HRV is, why it’s important, and how to record and use HRV with Apple Watch and iPhone.
What is HRV?
HRV stands for heart rate variability and is the measurement of how the interval of time between heartbeats changes. You don’t notice these tiny variances but devices like Apple Watch capture HRV, which is measured in milliseconds.
Some medical professionals contend measuring HRV through the skin with smartwatches and other similar trackers isn’t as accurate as dedicated medical equipment. But there have been studies that show Apple Watch is as reliable as products like the Polar’s heart rate monitors for measuring HRV.
Why is HRV important?
While it may sound like a bad thing at first, a higher HRV is actually indicative of being healthier, happier, less stressed, and can mean you’re recovered and are ready to exercise.
Many health and fitness professionals consider HRV as one of the best metrics to know when your body needs rest or is ready to perform as well as giving insight into the condition of your autonomic nervous system.
Along with HRV, Cardio Fitness – based on VO2 max – is a valuable metric to be aware of that can be indicative and predictive of overall health.
Here’s how the Cleveland Clinic describes HRV:
Your heart’s variability reflects how adaptable your body can be. If your heart rate is highly variable, this is usually evidence that your body can adapt to many kinds of changes. People with high heart rate variability are usually less stressed and happier.
On the flip side, a low HRV (at rest) can indicate that your body is less adaptive/resilient and may be a sign of health problems or potential health issues in the future.