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episode #293

Higher HRV = Better health. Here’s how to improve yours

October 9, 2023 in Podcast


This week I am discussing HRV (heart rate variability) and how it can be used to help optimize your daily performance and health.

HRV is a measure of the time between heartbeats. HRV measures vary by person and over time, fluctuating based on lifestyle choices and lived experiences, from stress levels to sleep patterns, exercise habits, and levels of physical exertion the body, day-to-day.

Paying attention to changes in your HRV trends over time is also a way to track the success of lifestyle interventions like fitness routine or dietary changes. A rise in HRV shows that your efforts are paying off, while a drop in HRV could indicate that further adjustments need to be made.

Using a Whoop or Oura Ring would be one way to understand your HRV trends. These wearables could be useful but I don't recommend always relying on technology for your health trends. What are some ways to improve your HRV?

  • Regular Exercise
  • Proper Sleep
  • Healthy Diet
  • Light Exposure
  • Meditation
and Cold Thermogenesis!

If you have any HRV questions, feel free to email me at brian@briangryn.com

Have a great day!

Brian (1s):

Hello and welcome to the GETLEAN and Eat Clean podcast. My name is Brian Gryn. I'm a certified health coach, trainer and author, and this podcast is for middle aged men and women looking to optimize their health and get their bodies back to what it once was 10 to 15 years ago. I will give you simple, actionable items to get long term sustainable results. Thanks for listening and enjoy the show. All, right Welcome to the Get Lean Eat Clean podcast. My name is Brian Gryn. I hope you had a great weekend and hopefully you listen to my re-broadcast of a friendly debate I did between Dr.

Brian (43s):

Dom Dia Augustino, who's a keto researcher and professor, and Jay Feldman, who's a health coach and researcher in, and is very involved in the pro metabolic sort of viewpoint on health. So it was interesting, we touched on, you know, low carb versus high carb. What's the preferred fuel source of the brain? We touched on glucose oxidation versus Fat oxidation, the importance of gut health and much, much more. So if you haven't already, it's worth a listen. I, I just re-listened to it and I think, you know, that's why I love doing some rebroadcast from time to time because, you know, you listen to it once, you're definitely not gonna get all the information. You probably gotta listen to it like seven times, right?

Brian (1m 24s):

But, you know, the, I think a debate like this, which was done a year ago, very relevant today and worth a listen if you haven't already now on the micro podcast today, well, going, thinking about topics I wanted to touch on And, you know, so the, the, the topic around stress comes up a lot, right? How we can manage our stress, whether it's chronic or acute. Obviously we wanna avoid chronic stress. And, you know, we're gonna have acute stressors from time to time, right? These are things like working out, maybe going into cold, cold plunge or a sauna. These are acute stressors that could be beneficial, right? But, you know, if we're dealing with chronic stress or fatigue and we find that it continues to happen, maybe we have to, you know, find ways to track it.

Brian (2m 12s):

Obviously listening to how you're feel and your, how you feel and your gut is most important. But, you know, nowadays with all the technology out there, and we have things like the Whoop and the Oura ring, if you haven't heard of those, those are just wearables that you wear in your wrist and your, and your finger. That can track things like heart rate variability, which is why I wanna touch on today. Also, it'll, you know, track much more than that. But one of the things that heart rate availability can sort of show you is, you know, how are you handling stress and is your body, what's your readiness factor? Are you able to handle a workout? Or maybe you want to go for a hike or a cold plunge or whatever it is.

Brian (2m 56s):

And so I thought, you know, we talk about stress And, you know, we always wanna sort of go with our gut as far as recovery is concerned. Like for me, if I'm not feeling it, a lot of times I won't work out, right? You gotta sort of listen to your body. But sometimes it's good to sort of bring in like a third party, and this would be like a third party, right? HRV, if you're un unsure of what HRV is, it's the distance between the, the time between your heart rate beats. So simply foot put, it's essentially the time between heartbeats. It's a valuable reflection of your body's readiness. A higher HRV score means our body is primed to handle stress while a lower score is meaning pretty much we're being, our body's being taxed and our body could benefit from rest.

Brian (3m 48s):

So if you find, if you're in this vicious cycle, you know, I'm not saying you have to go out and buy a, a wearable, like a Whoop or even the Apple Watch, I believe does it, or the Oura ring. But you know, again, it, it just depends sort of how you wanna dial, dial in your health and wellness. HRV is tied to your heart rate. And just some facts regarding heart, your heart rate. One of the things that's interesting is your heartbeats, gosh, let me just pull this up. Your heartbeats a hundred thousand times a day, a hundred thousand times a day and more than two and a half billion times in the average lifetime. So it's fascinating to understand that the spaces or the intervals between the heartbeats can give us sort of a clue into how our body is feeling and our readiness for activity.

Brian (4m 40s):

and we call that heart rate variability. So I thought it'd be beneficial just to touch on this, not saying you have to go out and get a Whoop, I have one, I don't use it all the time. I haven't used it in a while. But, it gave me some interesting information about that. Also around sleep as well. So the bottom line is we're gonna be either in this parasympathetic state where we're in this rest and digest state, or potentially in a sympathetic nervous, excuse me, a sympathetic state, which is like the fight or flight state. Now you don't wanna be in each of 'em for too long. Being in a parasympathetic state is good, but obviously you do wanna have times of, you're gonna have times of stress just from normal life or from working out or from co plunging And, you know, talking with like Jay Feldman, who I just obviously rebroadcasted that interview, he always talks about stress and all these stress stressors that we have in life, whether it's going to work or worrying about, you know, like financials, our financial system, our financial system, and our own financials or you know, traffic or working out or coal punch.

Brian (5m 49s):

These are all into the stress bucket and I think we just have to pay attention. If you're compounding these stressors on top of each other, then your body's not gonna necessarily be primed to work out. Now working out can help with these stressors. So it's sort of like a give and take, right? I think working out's a great stress reliever. So you, it can be used as that. You just gotta be careful that you're not overdoing it from that standpoint. And HRV, you know, if you're wondering, well how do I know have if, how do I know if I have a low HRV or a high H I V HRV? Well, for one, you gotta listen to your body.

Brian (6m 29s):

If you feel like you have fatigue or maybe you got poor sleep or maybe you drink too much or you have, or you're dealing with some anxiety or you even have reduced cognitive function, these could be symptoms of a low HRV. If you don't have a Whoop, obviously you won't be able to sort of measure the distance between your heart rates, your heart rate, your beats, excuse me. But you know, go with your gut and how you're feeling. That's typically what I do, right? So it's cool with all this technology. I will say, I think there's pros and cons to these wearables. I don't think you need to wear 'em all the time. Maybe you have 'em for a month just to see how it is and then you probably don't need it after that.

Brian (7m 10s):

But I thought I would just mention some ways that you could improve your HRV because low HRV and the symptoms that it can cause can significantly disrupt like your just everyday life. So ways that we can help improve HRV, like I mentioned, exercise is one of the best ways to increase HRV is by following a consistent fitness regimen. And you don't need to go overdo it in these, you know, we hear about this zone two or zone three workouts. These are workouts that you can do and still have a conversation. Let's just say that would be like a zone two workout. Proper diets important for having a high HRV.

Brian (7m 52s):

There's been some foods linked to like just fish and nuts and yogurt and foods rich in what's called B 12 can help with a, a higher HRV being able to manage stress. One of the things that I've been doing is a daily Meditationand 10 minute Meditationand, either in the morning or in or in the evening. And so this can just help you focus on your breath, stay present, and be able to manage any other stressors that come into your life during the day. Breathing exercises, I sort of put that into the same bucket, right? That'll help manage stress, improve your HRV. Even Light Exposure is Exposure to natural sunlight is another way to pro promote.

Brian (8m 38s):

you know, obviously for one, your body's natural circadian rhythm and also can improve in HRV. Even doing some cold Thermogenesis Exposure to cold temperatures is a useful strategy for increasing HRV. Again, these are brief exposures and it can even be a cold shower. So, you know, the thing about tracking it, obviously you would need to get a wearable. I'm not saying you need that, but I just wanted to bring this to your attention. If you've never even heard of it and you're like, wow, this is interesting, maybe I'll try it for a month. And so Whoop is something that calculates to your HRV through throughout the day. And this way you can sort of see how your body is and whether it's sort of its readiness factor for a workout or for another stressor if you wanna put something in the stress bucket.

Brian (9m 26s):

So anyways, that's what I wanted to touch on today. I think something to be aware of, sort of a cool thing that, you know, I think all this technology can be pros and cons to it, All, right? But you know, maybe this is something you could take advantage of and, and see how your HRV is for for a month, And, you know, and track it and see if you're, you're dealing with these, these sort of low HRV issues that can come up and improve it over time through diet, exercise, and lifestyle approach. So that's one I wanna touch on today. If you have any questions or if there's a topic you even want me to talk about in these micro Podcasts, feel free to email me, Brian at Brian Gryn dot com.

Brian (10m 7s):

And if you haven't already, check, feel free to check out my new, my new book, the Stepladder System. The link is on my website, Brian Gryn dot com, or you can go to Stepladder system.com to check that out. So that's all I got for today. I will talk to you on Friday with another great interview. Have a great day. Thanks for listening to the Get Lean Eat Clean Podcast. I understand there are millions of other Podcasts out there and you've chosen to listen to mine and I appreciate that. Check out the show notes@briangrin.com for everything that was mentioned in this episode. Feel free to subscribe to the podcast and share it with a friend or family member that's looking to get their body back to what it once was.

Brian (10m 48s):

Thanks again and have a great day.

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