The Code: A Guide to Health and Human Performance

The Pulse Cure – Managing HRV to Optimize Your Stress

Heart Rate Variability (HRV) plays a role in nine out of the ten deadliest diseases in the United States. “They make it so much easier to become the CEO of your own health,” says Dr. Torkil Færø MD, of wearables such as WHOOP, Garmin and Apple Watch which measure this vital health metric . HRV is the variation in time between heartbeats, and its measure lets us know how much stress our system is under. Measuring our HRV so closely and consistently, wearables help us learn how best to keep ourselves in a rested state, therefore helping us to stave off so many chronic stress-related diseases. On today’s episode of The Code, Dr. Færø discusses what each wearable is best at measuring, their specific benefit to women, and the top three (surprising!) stressors according to WHOOP.


• “In ancient times, all the threats came from the outside… these days, what makes us sick is too much stress, and now we need the sense of our own system…the heart and the heart rate will reveal the state of the system. So, that’s why it’s so important.” (11:08 | Dr. Torkil Færø)

• “So you just push a button and see the stress level in the moment, from zero to 100 in the moment. And that is quite important because you can feel, ‘How do I feel right now?’ And you can check, OK, so this is how it feels to have the stress of 40, for example. And you get to know your body better when you can get the measurement of the stress in the moment.” (17:20 | Dr. Torkil Færø)

• “Everyone should just find their own level, and then see how they can get their HRV as good as possible, within reason. So, not to compare it too much to other people, is important.” (13:20 | Dr. Torkil Færø)

• “It’s also kind of a license to rest. A lot of people feel guilty if they don’t do something…it’s another thing that tells you, ‘Relax, you deserve to relax,’ you should relax because there’s been so much strain on you.” (40:22 | Dr. Torkil Færø)

• “Google almost any disease or symptom with heart rate variability and you will find a connection. It’s said that heart rate variability is connected to nine out of the 10 deadliest diseases in the States. One out of those ten is road accidents, but all the other big killers are related to HRV.”  (53:55 |Dr. Torkil Færø)

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