Heart rate variability among healthy untrained adults during mild intensity stationary cycling exercise


1 Department of Physiology, AIIMS Bhopal, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India

2 Department of AYUSH, AIIMS Bhopal, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India

3 Research Director, Brain Tap Technology, India


Background: Stationary cycling is the popular, preferred, and convenient form of exercise. During exercise, autonomic modulation is seen which can be assessed by heart rate variability (HRV). The aim of the study was to evaluate the changes in HRV during mild-intensity cycling exercise.
Materials and Methods: An observational cross-sectional study was done on 20 healthy male volunteers with the age (35.44 ± 4.12), height (71.12 ± 11.98), and weight (161.23 ± 11.65), BMI (27.12 ± 3.49) attending various YOGA sessions in AYUSH OPD. Volunteers underwent an exercise program at the mild intensity of 30% to 50% of maximal heart rate on a stationary cycle for 20 min. HRV was recorded by the HRV mobile unit Dynamika Machine at rest, every 5 min (4×) over 20 min and during the recovery period. Repeated measures of analysis of variance with post-hoc analysis with Bonferroni and Holm's multiple comparisons.
Results: Significant change was observed in mean heart rate and time domain parameters. Frequency domain parameters that showed significant change were total power, High Frequency- HF (ms2), Very Low Frequency -VLF (ms2), Low Frequency -LF (ms2), and Very Low Frequency %-VLF (%).
Conclusions: The HRV parameters conclusively point towards cardiac parasympathetic withdrawal and sympathetic dominance at the initiation of exercise. With the progression of exercise, the sympathetic influence is retained. In the recovery period parasympathetic reactivation gains control over heart rate as well as HRV. The HRV response to exercise challenges may be helpful in designing exercise programs based on variations in the autonomic response.


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