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Heart rate variability: what is it and can it be used to guide your training?

Heart rate variability: what is it and can it be used to guide your training?

Measuring your heart rate has long been established as one of the easiest ways to monitor your effort while exercising but, in recent years, heart…

Saturday, Apr 30

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Measuring your heart rate has long been established as one of the easiest ways to monitor your effort while exercising but, in recent years, heart rate variability has emerged as a new metric that can help riders keep abreast of their overall health and wellbeing.

Using heart rate training zones enables cyclists to target specific areas of fitness and understand the body’s physiological response to riding.

But there’s more you can learn from how your heart is functioning, based on your heart rate variability (HRV), and it’s a topic of increasing interest both to athletes and the medical community.

Let’s take a closer look at what heart rate variability is, why it’s important and how you might be able to use it to your advantage. What is heart rate variability?

According to the Harvard Medical School , heart rate variability is “simply a measure of the variation in time between each heartbeat”.

We’re used to the regular bump-bump of the heart as it beats, but this rhythm is less regular than it at first appears, with measurable differences in milliseconds in the time between successive beats.

“The fluctuation in your heart rate – the variance in time between the beats of your heart – is heart rate variability,” says Kristen Holmes, VP of performance science at WHOOP.“If your heart beats 60 times per minute, it’s not actually beating once per second. For example, within that minute there may be 0.9 seconds between two beats and 1.1 seconds between two others. The greater this variability […]

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