Regarding the recent conversation regarding the accuracy of HRV and usefulness for athletes- there’s a few more factors regarding application of HRV parameters to any one individual- and why any results might be suspect.
To make a long story short, I played with various HRV apps for a while and always got results indicating that my variability was lower than expected for age and gender matched controls, thus suggesting a “rest” day even when I felt great and my training load was normal/easily manageable. Plus, my resting heart rate was always a little higher than “normal”, no matter my fitness level. Hmmmm.
Then- as an adult, I was diagnosed with ADHD. Crazy! True, I was always that kid who ran laps at recess for fun and then ran home because the school bus was too slow and then played ALL THE SPORTS because, well, that made life much better. Then kept running as an adult. I just thought everybody did this.
In the quest to figure out how to manage treatment (ie medication) and training- I did the normal thing and dug deep into PubMed to find out as much as I could about what exactly dopamine and norepinephrine did besides regulate frontal lobe and execute function. And to see whether medication was going to give me a heart attack if I trained with it. (So far, so good, not dead yet). There’s not much information about that. But what I did find- was interesting.
ADHD is, through neurotransmitter function, associated with parasympathetic dominance and cardiac/autonomic system dysregulation, and one of the key hallmarks of this is….lower than normal HRV values. So much so, that HRV is under consideration for being a diagnostic component of ADHD. Also interesting was a diminished response to orthostatic tests of heart rate. Must try that out to see if that holds for me too.
And- I have to think that the running/climbing/skiing/endurance sport community might have slightly more fellow ADHD-ers than the average population. Just throwing this out there- for consideration as one more reason to be a bit suspect of using HRV values that are compared to the “norm”.