Heart rate variability before and after cycle exercise in relation to different body positions

OF Barak, DG Jakovljevic, Gacesa JZ Popadic, ZB Ovcin, DA Brodie, NG Grujic

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The purpose of this study was to assess the effect of three different body positions on HRV measures following short-term submaximal exercise. Thirty young healthy males performed submaximal cycling for five minutes on three different occasions. Measures of HRV were obtained from 5-min R to R wave intervals before the exercise (baseline) and during the last five minutes of a 15 min recovery (post-exercise) in three different body positions (seated, supine, supine with elevated legs). Measures of the mean RR normal-to-normal intervals (RRNN), the standard deviation of normal-to-normal intervals (SDNN), the root mean square of successive differences (RMSSD) and the low-frequency (LF) and the high-frequency (HF) spectral power were analyzed. Post-exercise RRNN, RMSSD were significantly higher in the two supine positions (p < 0. 01) compared with seated body position. Post-exercise ln LF was significantly lower in the supine position with elevated legs than in the seated body position (p < 0.05). No significant difference was found among the three different body positions for post-exercise ln HF (p > 0.05). Post-exercise time domain measures of HRV (RRNN, SDNN, RMSSD) were significantly lower compared with baseline values (p < 0.01) regardless body position. Post-exercise ln LF and ln HF in all three positions remained significantly reduced during recovery compared to baseline values (p < 0.01). The present study suggests that 15 minutes following short-term submaximal exercise most of the time and frequency domain HRV measures have not returned to pre-exercise values. Modifications in autonomic cardiac regulation induced by body posture present at rest remained after exercise, but the post-exercise differences among the three positions did not resemble the ones established at rest. Key pointsWhether different body positions may enhance post-exercise recovery of autonomic regulation remains unclear.The absence of restoration of HRV measures after 15 minutes of recovery favor the existence of modifying effects of exercise on mechanisms underlying heart regulation.On the basis of discrepancies in HRV measures in different body positions pre- and post-exercise we argue that the pace of recovery of cardiac autonomic regulation is dependent on body posture.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)176-182
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Sports Science and Medicine
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes

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  • Heart rate variability
  • recovery
  • exercise


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