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The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2001 March;41(1):101-7


language: English

Effects of aerobic exercise training on 24 hr profile of heart rate variability in female athletes

Pigozzi F., Alabiso A., Parisi A., Di Salvo V., Di Luigi L., Spataro A., Iellamo F.

From the Istituto Universitario di Scienze Motorie (IUSM) Istituto di Medicina dello Sport, FMSI *Dipartimento Medicina Interna Università “Tor Vergata”- Roma, Italy


Background. The aim of ­this ­study was to inves­ti­gate the ­effects of exer­cise train­ing on auto­nom­ic reg­u­la­tion of ­heart ­rate ­under dai­ly ­life con­di­tions.
Methods. Twenty-six ­healthy ­female ath­letes (age 24.5±1.9 yrs) ­involved in reg­u­lar phys­i­cal activ­ity ­were recruit­ed dur­ing a peri­od of year­ly ­rest and ran­dom­ly ­assigned to a ­five-­week aero­bic exer­cise train­ing pro­gram (n=13) or to a non-exer­cise con­trol ­group (n=13). Measures: ­before and ­after the ­five-week train­ing, all sub­jects under­went a bycic­le ergom­e­ter ­stress ­test and a 24-­hour dynam­ic ECG mon­i­tor­ing. Autonomic reg­u­la­tion of ­heart ­rate has ­been inves­ti­gat­ed by ­means of ­both ­time and fre­quen­cy ­domain anal­y­ses of ­heart ­rate var­i­abil­ity (HRV). Spectral anal­y­sis of R-R inter­val var­i­abil­ity (auto­re­gres­sive algo­rithm) pro­vid­ed mark­ers of sym­pa­thet­ic (low fre­quen­cy, LF, 0.10 Hz) and par­a­sym­pa­thet­ic (­high fre­quen­cy, HF, 0.25 Hz) mod­ula­tion of the ­sinus ­node.
Results. Trained sub­jects ­showed a ­reduced ­heart ­rate ­response to sub­max­i­mal work­load. Before train­ing ­there was no sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ence ­between the two ­groups. After train­ing rest­ing ­heart ­rate did not sig­nif­i­cant­ly dif­fer ­between ­trained and ­untrained sub­jects. No sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­enc­es ­were ­observed in the dif­fer­ent ­time ­domain index­es of ­heart ­rate var­i­abil­ity. The day-­night dif­fer­ence in SD and ­SDRR ­were sig­nif­i­cant­ly ­less in the ­trained as com­pared to the ­untrained ­group. Normalized LF and HF com­po­nents did not sig­nif­i­cant­ly dif­fer ­between ­trained and ­untrained sub­jects, dur­ing the ­awake peri­od. The ­decrease in the LF and the ­increase in the HF com­po­nent dur­ing night­time ­were sig­nif­i­cant­ly ­less in the ­trained ­group. The LF/HF ­ratio was sig­nif­i­cant­ly ­decreased dur­ing the ­night in the ­untrained ­group where­as it was not sig­nif­i­cant­ly dif­fer­ent ­from the ­awake ­state in the ­trained ­group.
Conclusions. These find­ings of the rel­a­tive night-­time ­increase in LF and the ­decrease in the day-­night dif­fer­ence in ­time ­domain index­es of ­heart ­rate var­i­abil­ity sug­gest ­that, in ­young ­female ath­letes, exer­cise train­ing is ­able to ­induce an ­increase in the sym­pa­thet­ic mod­ula­tion of the ­sinus ­node ­which may coex­ist ­with ­signs of rel­a­tive­ly ­reduced, or unaf­fect­ed, ­vagal mod­ula­tion.

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