Reach your health & performance potential
Do you have a good understanding of how your body is managing the stresses in your life and the lifestyle routines you have adopted? Is improving your health, vitality and performance top of mind for you? Are you interested in science backed data to tell you which routines and practices are having a positive impact and which ones to focus on? If the answer to one or more of these questions is “Yes” then the Firstbeat Lifestyle Assessment is for you!
The Firstbeat Lifestyle Assessment provides a unique and highly actionable window into your physiology. With its deep insights into the restorative effect of sleep, the amount and quality of overall recovery, health effects of physical activity and your overall stress load and stress versus recovery balance you are set up to make powerful lifestyle adjustments.
To get access to these insights, the Firstbeat Bodyguard measurement device records heart rate, heart rate variability (HRV) and movement data for 24 hours over a 3-day period. Refer below for an overview of HRV which is a non-invasive and reliable way to measure stress load and recovery and whether these are in balance. It is often not the stress load that causes issues and downstream negative health effects but rather the lack of sufficient and / or poor quality of our recovery.
Information is power however and the new awareness you will gain from the assessment will uniquely set you up to take charge of your stress and recovery balance and enable you to positively influence your health and performance!
The Lifestyle Assessment is available New Zealand wide. The device is mailed to you with a pre-paid return envelope and the debrief is done virtually via Zoom.
A snapshot from the Lifestyle Assessment report showing stress versus recovery moments throughout a 24-hour period
Personal insights deliver results
Chronic stress leads to burnout and health issues. Identify factors in your personal life and work that cause stress and take control over your day.
Sufficient recovery is needed to balance stress load. Understand how to recover better and become more energised and focused.
Physical activity enhances stress resilience and productivity. Find your optimal level of exercise and experience more health benefits.
A simple three step process
Gaining this valuable insight into your physiology and working with an experienced Wellness Coach to interpret the results and generate positive lifestyle changes is a simple three step process. Available New Zealand wide.
Wear a Firstbeat Bodyguard measurement device for 3 days & nights (includes keeping an online journal)
Connect with me via Zoom to go through your Lifestyle Assessment Report, get personalised advice and identify lifestyle improvements
You can then also book in additional sessions to gain further information about specific topics and / or to get expert support with implementing the positive changes you want to make. A repeat assessment is optional but highly recommend to see objective data about the impact of the changes you have made and to take things to the next level.
Watch this short video for an overview of the Lifestyle Assessment and measurement process.
If you have further questions, contact me for a more in-depth discussion about how a Lifestyle Assessment could kick start positive lifestyle changes for you.
Professional wellness support
I am a Firstbeat certified provider with specific expertise in “lifestyle medicine”. Working with me means you combine the powerful Firstbeat data analytics, insightful lifestyle advice and transformative coaching to generate positive change toward optimal health & well-being.
Heart Rate Variability explained
The Lifestyle Assessment measurement primarily uses heart rate and heart rate variability to compute the various physiological insights covered in your report. Studying the heart provides us with a vast amount of information about our body. From beat to beat, heart rate is constantly changing to meet the needs of life. Heart rate variability (HRV) means the variation in time between consecutive heartbeats. It is universally accepted as a non-invasive marker of autonomic nervous system (ANS) activity. Higher HRV has been found to be associated with reduced morbidity and mortality, improved psychological well-being and quality of life, cognitive performance, capacity for self-regulation and social engagement.
Contrary to popular belief, a normal healthy heart does not beat evenly like a metronome, but instead, when looking at the milliseconds between heartbeats, there is constant variation. We are not acutely aware of this variation but the interval between beats gets longer (heart rate slows down) when you exhale and shorter (heart rate increases) when you inhale, a phenomenon called respiratory sinus arrhythmia. In addition to respiration, HRV is influenced acutely for example by exercise, hormonal reactions, metabolic processes, cognitive processes, stress and recovery.
HRV is regulated by the autonomic nervous system (ANS), and its sympathetic and parasympathetic branches, and it is commonly accepted as a non-invasive marker of autonomic nervous system activity. The sympathetic branch of the ANS is the stress or fight or flight system, getting us ready to act, react, and perform – to meet the different demands that life throws at us. The parasympathetic side is characterized as the rest and digest system that allows the body to power down and recover “once the fight is over”. The sympathetic branch activates stress hormone production and increases the heart’s contraction rate and force (cardiac output) and decreases HRV, which is needed during exercise and mentally or physically stressful situations. Conversely, the parasympathetic branch slows the heart rate and increases HRV to restore homeostasis after the stress passes. This natural interplay between the two systems allows the heart to quickly respond to different situations and needs.
Sympathetic activity is catabolic - it breaks down our cells and uses up energy / resources whereas parasympathetic activity is anabolic - it heals our system and aids in our recovery / replenishment. A good balance between these two branches is fundamental to both optimum health and performance and this is also the mechanism that explains the connection between stress overload or chronic stress and all major diseases. If the healing effect of the parasympathetic branch is insufficiently countering the depleting effect of the sympathetic branch our system is slowly but steady shifting towards a state of unhealth and disease!
In a normal, healthy situation, HRV should increase during relaxing activities, for example meditation or sleep, when the parasympathetic nervous system should dominate. On the other hand, HRV naturally decreases during stress, when elevated sympathetic activity helps the body keep up with the demand. Thus, HRV is typically higher when the heart is beating slowly, and lower when the heart starts to beat faster, for example during stress or exercise. The HRV level changes naturally from day to day, based on the level of activity and amount of, for example, work-related stress, but if a person is chronically stressed or overloaded – physically or mentally – the natural interplay between the two systems can be disrupted, and the body can get stuck in a sympathetically dominant fight state, with low HRV and high stress hormone levels, even when the person is resting. This is very consuming on the body and can result in various mental and physical health problems.
Genetic factors explain about 30% of the overall HRV level, but a person can improve their individual HRV by improving their health, fitness, stress management and recovery skills. High HRV is generally considered an indicator of a healthy heart, and higher HRV has been found in many studies to be associated with reduced morbidity and mortality and improved psychological well-being and quality of life. We must live with what the genetic lottery has given to us, and even if some general reference values are available, comparison to other people’s HRV values is not meaningful. The good news is that lifestyle has a powerful effect on HRV. We can take active steps to improve our lifestyle, be physically active, enhance recovery both during the day and sleep and strive for an overall better balance between stress and recovery.