The Suunto 5 and earlier Suunto 3 Fitness promise exciting insight into the world of stress and recovery. Following this information over time can help you master the language of your body and help you navigate from surviving to thriving.
Your body is constantly changing, responding and adapting to the challenges of life and environment. To reach the top and stay there, it helps to know where your energy is going, how your body recovers, and when you have the body resources you need for the road ahead.
You need to know when it’s time to take it easy, and when you are ready to benefit from a challenge.
You need real insight based on real science, so let’s start there.
The Science of Stress and Recovery
The ability to see your own stress and recovery patterns offers a remarkable opportunity to change how you see yourself and the world around you.
Let’s clear the air before we dig into how this is possible. We’re not talking magic crystals. Your Suunto watch isn’t a modern mood ring, and we’re not talking about galvanic skin reactions.
We’re talking about information coded into your heartbeat data by your nervous system.
Quickly regulated by your autonomic nervous system (ANS), the timing of your heartbeats is constantly changing in response to the demands of life and environment. With the right analytic tools, it is possible to recognize meaningful patterns in how your heart beats from one moment to the next and scientifically interpret them based on your own personal physiological profile.
The goal of this analysis is to reveal the interplay between the sympathetic (fight-or-flight) and sympathetic (rest-and-digest) branches of your autonomic nervous system.
Physiologically speaking, this means the ability to see the presence and magnitude of your body’s stress responses. It also means you can see when your body is recovering and how effectively the resources you need to tackle your next challenge are being restored.
This may sound complicated, but don’t worry. We can dial in and focus on what this means for you and how you can turn it into an advantage for becoming healthier, happier, and more productive.
Resources: Your Approach to Balancing Stress and Recovery
When it comes to stress and recovery, balance is the name of the game. Placing stress into the context of recovery and vice versa unlocks a new level of insight that can help you make clear choices to optimize your day-to-day routines and activities.
After all, successful people don’t avoid stress, they manage it. In fact, you need challenges in your life to grow and stay strong – the key, then, is to balance stress with adequate recovery.
The Resources screen on the Suunto 5 and Suunto 3 Fitness delivers the insight you need to achieve balance. To make sense of these insights, you simply need to know:
- Stress and physical activity deplete your resources
- Rest, relaxation, and sleep restore your resources
While restful moments and mindfulness are important, nothing beats the restorative power of sleep. That’s why the Suunto 5 and Suunto 3 Fitness offer specific insight into sleep quality.
When your energy resources are high, you will likely find it easier to focus and cope better with mental and physical challenges alike. Not only that but tackling a challenge when your resource levels are high means that your body is positioned to bounce back quicker and adapt in ways that will make you better prepared for the future.
Of course, as a human being, with enough willpower you can grit your teeth, and power your way through a tough workout when your resources are low, but willpower won’t change how your body adapts and puts itself back together when you’re done.
The Fitness Advantage
Research shows that the fitter and more physically active you are, the less draining stress is on your body. You can check your current fitness level, measurable as VO2max, by going for a run with your VO2max.
Boosting your fitness level with the right amount of exercise is a great way to make balancing stress and recovery easier. And with the adaptive training programs available on your Suunto device, you can always see what you should do next.
Running on Empty
There will be times when you find yourself running low. It’s not the end of the world, particularly if it’s a short-term issue, and you aware enough to understand why you’re in this situation.
Was it a bad night’s sleep? Is a high-pressure project at work leaving you drained? Are you working out more intensely than usual?
Take a few moments to examine your recent experiences and think about how things are going. If it’s a short-term thing or an isolated experience, then things will likely sort themselves out once you have a chance to catch up.
Experiencing low resources for longer periods of time likely mean that it’s time to examine your daily routines and lifestyle choices for guidance.
Chronically bad sleep, over-exercising, poor physical fitness, a lack of breaks at work are all common problems that come into the light when you adopt a Resources based perspective.
5 Key Points
- Stress and recovery are detected by analyzing how your heart is beating from one moment to the next, which offers insight into activity within your autonomic nervous system.
- Stress and physical activity deplete your body’s resources. Rest, relaxing pursuits, and especially sleep restore your body’s resources. Sleep is the most important time for recovery.
- Keeping an eye on your resources will show you when your body is at its most responsive and ready to capture the maximum benefit from your efforts.
- Good management doesn’t mean maintaining a high level of resources all the time. Instead, you should view a high level of resources as your opportunity to challenge yourself and get things done.
- Low Resources aren’t necessarily bad, as you know how you got there. If it’s temporary, you’ll be back on track with some rest. Longer periods may indicate it’s time to make a few changes.
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