What is HRV?

Heart Rate Variability or HRV for short, is as a biometric indicator of health and well-being. It is a window into the autonomic nervous system, which manages over 80% of the body’s functions. HRV is widely considered one of the best metrics for measuring physical health and determining your body’s readiness to cope with the pressures of day to day living.

Heart Rate Variability

Heart Rate Variability is literally the variance in time between the beats of your heart. So, if your heart rate is 60 beats per minute, it’s not actually beating once every second. Within that minute there may be 0.9 seconds between two beats, for example, and 1.15 seconds between two others.

The higher this variability is, the more “ready” your body is to perform at an optimum level. These periods of time between successive heart beats are known as “RR” intervals and are measured in milliseconds. Heart rate variability is an extremely sensitive metric. It fluctuates greatly throughout the day, from one day to the next, and from one person to another

Heart Rate Variability: Using Biometrics to Improve Outcomes in Trauma-Informed Organizations


Whilst some comparisons are useful no two people’s HRV scores from the same demographic group are the same as they are influenced by variety of different factors including age, sex, BMI and general health. Generally however younger people tend to have higher (better) HRV levels than older people and males lower than females. Elite athletes will have much higher rates than the average person due to a managed fitness regime.

When you begin using a heart rate variability monitor, you may notice that your HRV varies greatly from day to day. This is perfectly normal as individual scores will vary depending on the events of the day.

The key thing is not the HRV score it is the trend in HRV levels over time that are important.

Your Reading

It is the trends over time in HRV that establish how well you are coping with the demands placed upon you. A declining trend in HRV levels indicates some change in your Autonomic Nervous System and it is these changes that are often associated with illness, or mental health issues such as Chronic Stress, Anxiety or Depression.

By measuring HRV levels over time we can simply and easily establish how each individual is coping with the daily pressure they are under.

Optimal HRV tracks these trends in HRV levels and provides tips and guidance to help ensure that both the individual and the employer can take the appropriate steps to help maintain Health and Wellbeing levels.


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