A POTS exercise program using your Apple Watch
Those with POTS, Dysautonomia, or Long Covid can use Empirical Health to complete structured, recumbent exercise program.
While there’s no cure for POTS, Dysautonomia, or Long Covid, what if there were a treatment shown to improve symptoms for 77% of patients?
There is: a specific, structured exercise program. While “exercise more” may seem like one of the most banal pieces of health advice, this isn’t that—instead, it’s an exercise program that’s been carefully designed around the unique characteristics and needs of POTS patients.
Empirical Health’s POTS exercise program is rooted in the foundational research of the CHOP / Levine protocol, but updated to use the latest technology, including the iOS 17’s new WorkoutKit feature to preload workouts with pre-calculated heart rate zones to your watch.
Download Empirical Health today and try it out, or read on to learn how it works.
The science behind the CHOP / Levine Protocol
My co-founder Dr Raquel Rodriguez wrote about the science behind the CHOP and Levine protocols below.
While the details of these protocols vary a bit, they all involve some common characteristics:
They begin with horizontal exercise, such as rowing, recumbent biking, or swimming — these horizontal exercises allow you to build strength.
Start with low intensity exercise, guided by heart rate zones, for short durations (about 3 minutes initially). Strength training is incorporated twice a week. For those using beta blockers, an exertion scale is used instead of heart rate zones.
Over the course of several months, graduate to longer durations, higher intensities, and upright exercise.
How we used iOS 17’s new WorkoutKit feature to build a POTS exercise program
iOS 17 and watchOS 10 introduced WorkoutKit, which lets developers create iPhone apps that preload workouts onto the Apple Watch. These workouts can be structured to include multiple segments, each of which have custom heart rate zones.
When you add today’s workout onto your watch, it will guide you through each segment. Segments generally guide you to reach a certain heart rate zone (or exertion level, for those on beta blockers) for a certain period of time. In the initial levels of the program, you might spend 3 minutes at a time at your base pace, with recovery in between:
As you advance in the program, the active periods adapt to become longer and more intense, with upright exercises typically being introduced after about two months.
Give it a try
Download Empirical Health on the App Store today.