Friday, August 17th, 2018

My Pledge to Living Quantitively

Let me present you a graph, a screenshot of my HRV4Training app:

This graph has the potential to be life altering for me. Why? Well, you probably have guessed that the "You" in that graph was me. As long as I am aware and can remember, I have never been at the bottom of a bell curve in anything. Average, sure, but the very bottom? I shouldn't belong here!
That might be my ego talking, but more importantly, I'm worried. This is a population comparison of my Heart Rate Variability (HRV) with all users (blue) and users of my gender and age bracket (dark blue). What is HRV, you might ask? Based on what I have studied, I'll try to explain it brief in my own words:
All humans have a heart beat at any moment of their living life, fast when excited and slow when in deep rest, but usually a fairly constant one. However, the truth is, the heart beat is never constant, not even from one second to the next. If at this moment, my heart rate is 60 beats/minute — 1 beat per second on average, the lapses between beats might have been 970ms, and then 1002ms, and so on… The time duration between two beats changes constantly, which is a good thing, indicating an on-going balance between the sympathetic nervous system (responsible for fight and flight responses in the face of stress) and the parasympathetic nervous system (responsible for rest and digest). A high variability in heart rate reflects a well adapted human system. And a low HRV, like mine shown in the above graph?
Let me just quote you two studies on the implication of low HRVs here, and you can find a lot more.
And this one is scarier:
Maybe now you can understand why I'm worried. Well, being worried will wreck my HRV score, so I'm stopping the worry right now, and instead, I just entered a planning mode — from now on, I will live quantitively, with one goal in mind, which is to improve my HRV. The plan is simple: I will measure my HRV every morning after I wake up, and I will try to address every aspect of my life. There is so much to learn as you can see below how many references came up when I simply google'd term "boost hrv".
While there are reasons (be it genetics, bad habits, or poor psychological development, or all of them combined) that have led me to where I am today, I will try not to dwell on them as I have no control over the past. But I'm pumped now that there is a possibility that I can change my future for the better, by living quantitively.
Let my HRV journey begin!

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