Back before I got a cold a month ago, I had been able to do my heart rate variability training (HeartMath’s emWave2) sitting up with my feet on the floor. I haven’t been able to do it since. The reason is, no matter how carefully I breathed, no matter how long I “kept at it”, no matter how soon after my beta blocker dose I trained, my heart rate would just continue going up and up the entire session and not respond to my breathing at all. That’s frustrating to say the least, so I decided to work on mastering sitting up with my legs propped up and once I could get above 90% high several says in a row at that level of difficulty, I’d try my feet on the floor.
Well, today was the day. I did 10 minutes of training with my feet propped up. I intended to do 10 minutes with my feet on the floor, but it ended up only being 7.5 minutes because my heart wasn’t game for 10 minutes yet and it let me know!
Here was my session (waves graph is compressed so we can see full session) with my feet up. When you’re looking at the wave graph, the y axis is heart rate and the x axis is time elapsed. The waves are fairly even with spikes every now and then. They are also almost all smooth. By smooth, I mean they aren’t all bumpy, it looks like you could have used a ruler to make most of them. My progress (the big blue part on the bottom left) shows constant upward progress. My average heart rate was on 63. Granted it is with a beta blocker in my system, it is still excellent! Prior to the cold I could get this same score on level high, but this is still only level medium. That’s okay though because it is better than I have been doing over the past few weeks.
Next, came the session with my feet down. At first, it was going wonderfully. In the first few minutes, I thought to myself, “I am going to do better with my feet down than I did up. This is crazy!” I did do awesome for about 3-4 minutes, then my heart, try as it may, just could not hold up against my POTS. It started beating more and more rapidly. My poor heart is being bullied. In fact, my heart rate increased about 40 beats over the course of 7.5 minutes just sitting there and without me moving a muscle! When my heart rate hit above 100 a few times, I took that as a sign my heart had enough of training with my feet on the floor and stopped. The resulting wave graph compressed looked like this:
You can see how after a few minutes, the waves start becoming irregular in height, quite bumpy and the generally trend is they are going up. I couldn’t even show you the full range of some of the waves toward the end (blue lines denote this) because they compressed view of the session will only show a range of 30 heart beats. (FYI: If you emWave 2 you can adjust the heart rate scale under view –> show HRV scale, but you just cannot adjust the compressed version). The “accumulated score” shows how bumpy my ride became toward the end there. My average heart rate was 78 which isn’t awful, but considering I have a beta blocker in me, it isn’t great compared to where I was a month ago.
Although my full 7.5 minutes of training with my feet on the floor didn’t go smoothly, about half of it did which is major progress from where I was the last few weeks. I’m really proud. Since my heart clearly isn’t up to 10 straight minutes of this sort of training yet, my game plan for tomorrow is to try starting out with 4 minutes of training with my feet on the floor, 12 minutes with my feet propped up, and then another 4 minutes with my feet on the floor. It’ll be a lot of stopping and starting, but it’ll be worth it to get back to where I was a month ago with my heart rate variability training!
In other news, one week from Sunday I am heading back to Dallas with my Dad for my week long followup at The POTS Treatment Center.