“We know firsthand that feeling healthy, focused and having a clear, calm mindset makes all the difference when it comes to successful trading. Our bio app helps you find that state – then stay there.”
Chris Jenkins, ZISHI

Measuring High Performance

One of the core metrics to measure for traders is Heart Rate Variability (HRV). This equates to the variation in time between successive heart beats over a given time period.

The time between beats is sometimes called Inter-beat Intervals (IBIs) or R-R intervals and is usually measured in milliseconds (ms). R-R intervals are very different to Heart Rate (HR) or Beats Per Minute (BPM). HRV looks much closer at the small heart fluctuations that occur in response to everything that happens both inside and outside of our body. By applying the right calculations to these barely perceptible R-R interval changes, we can figure out exactly how ready we are to handle things like intense exercise, a big presentation at work, or any other stressful situation. This is all possible thanks to a certain branch of our Autonomic Nervous System (ANS).

The human body is a complex network of nerves, vessels, muscles, glands and more. This intricate system keeps you alive, fuels your performance, and controls your recovery. It all happens automatically, thanks to the ANS. The ANS has an impact on virtually every bodily function, including blood sugar, adrenaline, digestion, pupil dilation, heart rate, and much more. It has two main branches: the Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS) and the Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS).

The Parasympathetic (also known as ‘rest and digest’) branch of the ANS plays a major role in digestion, sexual arousal, muscle repair and lowering blood pressure. By contrast, the Sympathetic (‘fight or flight’) branch increases blood pressure, increases heart rate, dilates pupils, and makes you sweat more. Simply put, this is the body in stress response. Every millisecond, both branches of the ANS are competing to keep you alive: now (fight or flight) vs. keep you alive later (rest and digest). The balance of your Autonomic Nervous System is shifting between Parasympathetic and Sympathetic all the time. By measuring HRV regularly, we can see the shifts in Parasympathetic and Sympathetic dominance and deliver insights into how performance might be compromised if the data indicates constantly elevated Sympathetic response. Scientists in the world of elite performance use HRV to accurately gauge resource levels of individuals and assess how ready they are to overcome large tasks, intensive exercise and stressful situations. The ZISHI biometric testing and tracking does the same, determining each trader’s optimal HRV state then creating custom insights and recommendations to keep traders performing at their best.

Professor Lew Hardy

Research Professor in Sport Psychology. Bangor University

Professor Lew Hardy

Lew was one of the first professors of sport psychology in the United Kingdom, and is one of a very small number of people to have given keynote and invited addresses at all the major sport psychology conferences in the world. He has over 100 full length research publications and served three Olympic cycles as chairperson of the British Olympic Association’s Psychology Steering Group (from 1989 to 2000). His central research interest is the psychology of very high level performance, including the effects of stress, mental toughness, motivation, the utility of psychological skills and strategies, trans-formational leadership, and teamwork. He has been responsible for over £1 million pounds of grant capture and has equal applied experience working across military, business, and sport domains.

Dr. Andrew Cooke

Lecturer in Sports and Exercise Science, Bangor University

Dr. Andrew Cooke

Andrew obtained his undergraduate degree from Bangor University in 2007 and his PhD from the University of Birmingham in 2010. His research investigates psychophysiological responses to compe-tition / stress, and the psychophysiological response patterns that characterise optimal human perfor-mance. He has also conducted neuroscience research designed to train golfers to control their levels of brain activity before executing putts. In his spare time he enjoys playing and watching most sports, particularly football, golf, tennis and table tennis.

“One goal of the app is to provide a daily indicator of your parasympathetic and sympathetic balance which, over time, will help identify what state is optimal for you. Once your optimal zone has been identified, the app will provide advice on how you can get into and remain in your own optimal zone to help you perform at your best.”

Dr Matt Barlow

PhD Researcher into Elite Performance, Bangor University

Dr Matt Barlow

Matt gained his first class undergraduate degree, Masters degree, and PhD from Bangor University. Matt has two research foci. The first concerns the motives for, and benefits of, participation in high-risk sport. The second pertains to the development of Super-Elite performance in Olympic sports. In these lines of research Matt has worked with some of the UK’s best expeditionary mountaineers, as well as Olympic medalists, and Tour De France winning cyclists. Matt rode professionally as a moun-tain bike trials rider for ten years and continues to enjoy riding, climbing, and any opportunity to get out and up into the mountains.

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