Here’s why HRV is important and how you can track it with your Apple Watch and iPhone

HRV is a valuable overall health indicator measured by the Apple Watch, but there’s no native integration into watchOS or iOS to better understand and use the data—leave that to third-party apps. Below we’ll explain what HRV is, why it’s important, and how to register and use HRV with your Apple Watch and iPhone.

01/14/23 update: A new study has been released that once again shows that the Apple Watch is accurate at tracking HRV.

What is HRV?

HRV indicates heart rate variability and is a measure of how the time interval between heartbeats varies. You don’t notice these small discrepancies, but devices like the Apple Watch capture HRV measured in milliseconds.

Some medical experts argue that transdermal HRV measurement by smartwatches is not as accurate as specialized medical equipment. But there are studies that show the Apple Watch is just as reliable for measuring HRV as products like Polar heart rate monitors.

Why is HRV important?

While it may seem like a bad thing at first, a higher HRV actually indicates that you’re healthier, happier, less stressed, and can mean you’re healed and ready to exercise.

Many health and fitness professionals consider HRV to be one of the best metrics for knowing when your body needs rest or is ready to exercise, as well as providing insight into the state of your autonomic nervous system.

Along with HRV, Cardio Fitness based on VO2 max is a valuable metric to know that can be an indicator and predictor of overall health.

Here’s how the Cleveland Clinic describes HRV:

The variability of your heart reflects the adaptability of your body. If your heart rate fluctuates a lot, it’s usually a sign that your body is adjusting to a lot of changes. People with highly variable heart rates are generally less stressed and happier.

On the other hand, a low HRV (at rest) may indicate that your body is less adapted/resilient and may be a sign of health problems or potential health problems in the future.

What is a good HRV number?

HRV is a highly personalized and constantly evolving measure. It also depends on a variety of factors, including physical and mental health/stress, diet, nutrition, alcohol consumption, sleep patterns, age, gender, genetics, frequency/intensity of exercise, and more.

HRV can also change a lot in a day, so don’t give up on monitoring it every hour. With this in mind, it’s important not to use HRV by comparing it to others, but simply to look at your own HRV trends over time. If you have any questions about your HRV numbers, consult your doctor.

But if you’re interested in general HRV numbers, Whoop published the average HRV values ​​of 50% of its users by age:

How to use HRV with Apple Watch and iPhone

How to find your Apple Watch HRV data

For Apple Watch users over the age of 18, HRV is automatically recorded on the Apple Watch (in most countries). However, you need to visit the Health app on your iPhone to check the data.

  • open Health program on the iPhone
  • press the button View icon in the lower right corner
  • Choose now Heart > Heart rate variability
  • Above, you can change the view of HRV data by day, week, month, semester, and year
How to record and view HRV with Apple Watch and iPhone

How to force HRV recording with Apple Watch

If you manually take an HRV reading with your Apple Watch at rest and at the same time every day, you can get more accurate and potentially more useful data.

  • In addition to automatic readings, you can force your Apple Watch to record HRV by opening it Mindfulness program and select Breathe
  • After a short while, you’ll see your new HRV data appear in the Health app on your iPhone

Get the most out of your HRV data

What’s interesting is that the Apple Watch and iOS Health app don’t provide any recommendations or insights into your HRV data like Whoop or Oura do.

It helps to know that a rising HRV is a good indicator of overall health, but what about more powerful insights?

I used Training Today and was impressed with its recommendations. After you allow the health app to read your HRV data, the app compares your current HRV to your baseline to make recommendations such as taking time to recover, “stay steady but listen to your body,” or “get ready for peak performance.”

Training Today calls this the Training Readiness Score (RTT) and works with an easy-to-use, color-coded 0-10 scale. I found the recommendations to be a very helpful nudge to listen to what my body was telling me.

Apple Watch Training Today app - Use HRV with Apple Watch and iPhone

Training Today is free to download from the App Store with in-app purchases to unlock all app features.

Other great HRV-based apps to check out include:

If you have a compatible Bluetooth or ANT heart rate monitor from Polar, Suunto, or others, Elite HRV is another iOS app that offers a more detailed and functional experience.

How to improve HRV

The whoop smart health tracker has a great article on 10 ways to improve your HRV. You probably won’t find many surprises, but the list is a good reminder of areas to consider/prioritize:

  • Exercise
  • Diet and Nutrition
  • Constant sleep
  • Stay hydrated
  • Avoid alcohol
  • Concentrated breathing
  • Meditation
  • cold therapy
  • gratitude journal

Read more tutorials at

For more Apple news, watch the video below:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *