Your heart rate variability (HRV) is one of the key indicators of your recovery status, overall health, and fitness level. Specifically, your HRV trend reflects how past days’ strain and rest levels are affecting your current recovery status.
Oura is constantly innovating, and we’ve created a new metric to help you get the most out of your experience: HRV Balance. Your HRV Balance captures how your autonomic nervous system (ANS) is trending over time. While HRV levels naturally fluctuate day to day, a key sign of health and recovery is a resilient HRV score. A score that rebounds after taking a hit or gradually improves over time is what to look for.
HRV is a highly personal measure, and your unique nervous system determines your HRV range. Some individuals have a wide range, with HRV values that vary widely, while others have a steady score. HRV Balance uses your personal baseline and allows you to see how you’re doing relative to your own optimal HRV.
HRV Balance is generated through a longer-term comparison of your current HRV trend and your personal baseline. More specifically, a rolling average of the past 2 weeks is compared to your baseline over the past 3 months. HRV Balance puts more weight on recent days to better reflect the fluctuations of your HRV.
Your Balance can fall into three categories:
HRV Balance and HRV average highlight different patterns. Your nightly average reflects shorter-term changes in your HRV, such as early signs of illness, immediate reactions to workouts, or other factors that can have a day-long effect on a person’s recovery status.
HRV Balance, on the other hand, highlights the overall balance of your ANS over time. It captures the negative effects of prolonged stressors (e.g., overtraining, long term stress, or multiple days of illness) and the positive impact of longer term factors (e.g., recovery capacity, overall fitness).
HRV Balance reflects how your day to day patterns of stress and recovery balance out over weeks. If your balance leans more towards strain than recovery, your HRV is likely to trend down. If you’re striking an optimal balance between pushing and rebounding, your HRV will maintain, or even improve over time.
HRV Balance allows you to set longer term HRV goals. Maybe you’re aiming for a gradual increase in your average HRV by taking steps to improve your overall health and fitness. Or maybe you’re proactively avoiding downward trends—keeping an eye out for imbalances that tell you it’s time to rest.
Regardless of your goal, you can keep an eye out for these patterns:
HRV is an ever-evolving tool, so it’s important to consistently check in with your body. If your Balance is low but your nightly averages are on the rebound and you’re feeling good, then listen to your body, and get the most out of your days.