10 Ways Listening to Your Health Apps Can Backfire

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What’s a good HRV reading? What’s a good resting heart rate? What’s a good VO2max? What’s a good running pace?

I won’t call these “meaningless” numbers, because they do have some utility. But they’re not scores on which you should judge yourself as a person in the universe. Each number means something in context, and doesn’t mean much outside of that context.

For example, if you currently run a 10-minute-per-mile pace, it doesn’t matter whether that’s “good.” You can train to run faster, should you choose. Or to take HRV, which stands for heart rate variability? That’s a number that can be useful to tell you whether you’ve been under a lot of stress from training or life; it’s not the kind of thing you can meaningfully compare to others.

What to do instead: Ask yourself what really matters. A number on your screen doesn’t mean anything in real life, but maybe you’re improving something about your heart health or your ability to run races. Focus on those ultimate outcomes, not on your daily score.

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