Why should athletes care about HRV?

High HRV is a sign that your body is capable of adaptively responding to its environment. When HRV is low, the nervous system is sending unequally strong signals to the heart. Sometimes this is a necessity; in cases of immediate threat, we want our bodies to put 100% of our resources behind eliminating the threat and to temporarily divert resources away from non-emergency operations. In non-emergencies, HRV reflects the extent to which your body is “distracted” with other physiological demands, such as musculoskeletal recovery, stress, illness, and fatigue. This is important for athletes because any resources going to these distractions cannot be used for athletic activities. An athlete who cannot put 100% of his resources into his sport is therefore at a disadvantage compared to competitors who can.

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