Firstbeat, a Finnish company specialising in performance analytics, has developed the Firstbeat Lifestyle Assessment, which uses a Heart Rate Variability (HRV) – the time interval in milliseconds between consecutive heartbeats – to offer participants a snapshot of their stress reactions and help them to manage stress recovery.
Participants wear a HRV monitoring device which, over the course of three days, measures their stress reactions, physical activity levels, daytime recovery and sleep patterns. A comprehensive report, delivered by a consultant, gives users a clear idea of how they can improve their stress-recovery balance.
Understanding their HRV gives participants an insight into the way their body functions, and how it reacts to everyday life. Firstbeat’s assessment uses this information to map stress, recovery and exercise performance. A report based on these findings is delivered during a consultation with a Firstbeat Assessor. Quarterly retests are recommended to track progress.
"The key to reducing stress and improving general wellbeing lies in understanding how your body reacts to certain triggers" -
The test has recently become available in the UK, with organisations such as the NHS adopting it to help reduce stress levels in their staff.
Toby Murray, director of Wellness Services at Firstbeat UK, says: “The key to reducing stress and improving general wellbeing lies in understanding how your body reacts to certain triggers. By measuring HRV, our technology gives a breakdown of the effects of daily activities on the body, providing an overall lifestyle assessment of general wellbeing.”
“Once you can physically see the visual impact of these stressors, you can put in place measures to tackle stress and keep your mind and body functioning as best as possible to achieve optimum health,” Murray adds.
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The Firstbeat device tracks stress reactions