I have completed my initial experiment with daily heart rate variability (HRV) measurements that began in February. As background, if you don’t know about HRV, you can read this post Do You Have a Healthy Heart? to learn what I am measuring and why it matters. You can also refer to my previous readings here: Baseline, March, April, and May.
The fantastic news is that the primary HRV measurement I am evaluating (RMSSD) increased substantially from 29.6 to 37.3 (an increase is a positive improvement). Based on the research papers I had read, I expected that my HRV parameters would benefit from strenuous exercise over a period of several months, and thankfully, my results were consistent with that research.
As I continue to exercise, I will occasionally check to see if my numbers improve and also use the information to determine if I am overtraining. Given that I am only working out 3 or 4 times a week, I don’t think it is likely that I will suffer from overtraining; however I hope to be able to increase my training now that my body has a better level of fitness.
On a related note, I plan to write several posts in the coming months about cognitive abilities and neuroplasticity (the ability of the brain and nervous system to rewire themselves) related to acquiring new motor skills via exercise. This research paper, “Is heart rate variability related to memory performance in middle-aged men?” looks to be a good bridge between these areas of interest.