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A Heart-y Habit - Mark Leavitt - QS2015 Conference Show and Tell

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Research has associated heart rate variability (HRV) with physical health and psychological resilience, so I built some toolsand a daily habit for measuring it. Looking at trends, does HRV correlate with my health and willpower?

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A Heart-y Habit - Mark Leavitt - QS2015 Conference Show and Tell

  1. 1. A Heart-y Habit Willpower, Habits, and Heart Rate Variability (HRV) Show-and-Tell Session Quantified Self Conference June 2015 Mark Leavitt mark@markleavitt.com
  2. 2. A Heart-y Habit Willpower, Habits, and Heart Rate Variability (HRV) Show-and-Tell Session Quantified Self Conference June 2015 Mark Leavitt mark@markleavitt.com
  3. 3. Three things I was taught “Eat all your food” “Be careful, don’t get hurt” “Study hard, go to college”
  4. 4. Fifty years later Had eaten lots of food (weight 195#, BMI 29) Never got hurt (because I was completely sedentary) Definitely followed the college advice
  5. 5. So my challenge was to… Extinguish lifelong bad eating habits Build new exercise habits
  6. 6. So my challenge was to… Extinguish lifelong bad eating habits Build new exercise habits …by trying to use what I’d learned in college
  7. 7. My QS “virtuous feedback loop” Plan Track Analyze Refine
  8. 8. What I track Plan Track Analyze Refine Activities Weight Strength Health Heartbeat
  9. 9. The heart’s accelerator and brake pedals Sympathetic (“speedup”) system: • Fight, flee, or fume! Parasympathetic (“pause”) system: • Relax, refresh, and rebuild
  10. 10. Slower Faster Heart rate variability (HRV) is a good sign -- the pedals are not stuck 0.64 sec 1.0 sec
  11. 11. HRV research findings • Predicts recovery from illnesses • Measures fitness/resilience • Correlates with willpower tests • Certain HRV measures increase in mindfulness/meditation practice
  12. 12. HRV research findings • Predicts recovery from illnesses • Measures fitness/resilience • Correlates with willpower tests • Certain HRV measures increase in mindfulness/meditation practice Could HRV measure my day-to-day willpower?
  13. 13. Stage I: Commercial HRV sensor • Daily 3-8 minute session • emWave2 – Initially, at fingertip – Later, used ear clip • Some issues and hassles • Upload, hack, extract, merge
  14. 14. Stage I: Commercial HRV sensor • Daily 3-8 minute session • emWave2 – Initially, at fingertip – Later, used ear clip • Some issues and hassles • Upload, hack, extract, merge
  15. 15. Stage II: DIY wireless HRV sensor • More accurate (EKG-based) • Tiny, pocketable, months of battery life • No sound or lights to disrupt session • Wireless (Bluetooth LE) • Memorizes session data • Upload directly to my tracking software
  16. 16. Stage II: DIY wireless HRV sensor • More accurate (EKG-based) • Tiny, pocketable, months of battery life • No sound or lights to disrupt session • Wireless (Bluetooth LE) • Memorizes session data • Upload directly to my tracking software
  17. 17. Stage III: HRV sensing integrated into my PC workstation
  18. 18. Stage III: HRV sensing integrated into my PC workstation
  19. 19. What have I learned ?
  20. 20. My HRV during meditation HR = 57 HR = 72 Wide, smooth variations synchronized with breathing are the goal
  21. 21. Over 3 years, I made progress
  22. 22. Over 3 years, I made progress
  23. 23. Time-domain HRV measurements don’t detect this well r = -0.19 N = 677
  24. 24. My HRV does correlate with strength training r = 0.60 N = 134
  25. 25. My HRV does correlate with strength training r = 0.60 N = 134
  26. 26. My HRV does not correlate with my weight r = 0.04 N = 134
  27. 27. My HRV does not correlate with my weight r = 0.04 N = 134
  28. 28. Bottom line? HRV appears to measure my WILL power “I will lift these weights”
  29. 29. Bottom line? HRV appears to measure my WILL power “I will lift these weights” But not my WON’T power “I won’t eat these cookies”
  30. 30. Thanks for listening. I look forward to your questions! Contact info: Email: mark@markleavitt.com Twitter: @markleavitt Website: markleavitt.com

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