This week I started measuring my Heart Rate Variability (HRV) and Resting Heart Rate with the ithlete app and Polar Heart Strap in order to get a sense of my health and to avoid overtraining. A Smart Blutooth Heart Strap is required to work with a iPhone 4S or iPhone 5.
HRV is measured as the time gap between your heart beats that varies as you breathe in and out. Research evidence increasingly links high HRV to good health and a high level of fitness, whilst decreased HRV is linked to stress, fatigue and even burnout. You can read more about it here on the ithlete page
As soon as you get up in the morning you attach you heart strap and open you app. This is what you see
When you get the green sign, you then breath in through your nose and out through your mouth for one minute while the app takes your heart rate and makes it calculations. You save the data and the app stores it in a graph like this
and a table like this
The table can also be sent to you e-mail or dropbox.
The idea is that if you see the HRV going down you need to take things easy or take a rest. If it remains the same or goes up you can train with the usual intensity.
I will be adding more screenshots of the graph in the weeks to come.