Heart Rate Variability in Athletes

  title={Heart Rate Variability in Athletes},
  author={Andr{\'e} E. Aubert and Bert Seps and Frank Beckers},
  journal={Sports Medicine},
This review examines the influence on heart rate variability (HRV) indices in athletes from training status, different types of exercise training, sex and ageing, presented from both cross-sectional and longitudinal studies. The predictability of HRV in over-training, athletic condition and athletic performance is also included. Finally, some recommendations concerning the application of HRV methods in athletes are made.The cardiovascular system is mostly controlled by autonomic regulation… 

The role of heart rate variability in sports physiology

  • Jinying Dong
  • Biology, Education
    Experimental and therapeutic medicine
  • 2016
A comprehensive assessment of investigations concerning the interrelation between HRV and ANS is offered, and how the application of HRV to physical exercise may play a role in sports physiology is examined.

The effect of different types of sports on resting heart rate variability and autonomic nervous system balance

The results of this study point towards higher fitness levels, in terms of autonomic control of cardiac function in participants involved in aerobic-demanding sports activities, and also in the later, postparticipation years are recommended.

Five minute recordings of heart rate variability in physically active students : reliability and gender characteristics.

The objective of this study was to evaluate the reliability of short-term (5min) recordings of HRV, and to determine the association between HRV and gender.

Characterization of heart rate variability and baroreflex sensitivity in sedentary individuals and male athletes

The analysis of HRV associated to the Valsalva maneuver can represent a simple, but important tool, for possible inferences on physical aptitude.

[Heart rate variability analysis in sports].

Analysis of the time and/or frequency power domain of the heart rate variance is expected to have diagnostic value in physiological and pathological situations as adaptation to training, overtraining, heart disease etc.

Influence of Autonomic Control on the Specific Intermittent Performance of Judo Athletes

Heart rate variability (HRV) is related to intermittent judo performance; however, it cannot differentiate between judokas at different levels of performance.

Heart rate variability in trotters during different training periods.

Heart rate variability can be used to monitor the cardiovascular responses to training in horses but confirmatory measures may also be required in addition to HRV to exclude other possible causes of underperformance.

Influence of Running Stride Frequency in Heart Rate Variability Analysis During Treadmill Exercise Testing

The objective of this study is to test the hypothesis that a component centered at the running stride frequency appears in the HRV of subjects during maximal treadmill exercise testing, and to study its influence in the interpretation of the low-frequency and high-frequency components of HRV during exercise.


Training quality infl uences the AnS activity and according to changes in the ANS activity the authors can deduce the athlete's changes in adaptability, and come to the following conclusion.



Heart rate variability in athletes: relationship with central and peripheral performance.

Improved measures of both peripheral and central work capacities were associated with a reduction of low-frequency HRV in the tilted position, suggesting that the ability to further improve VO(2max) with training in these already fit subjects seemed to depend on their average levels of these HRV measures.

Spectral analysis of heart rate variability in athletes.

Power spectrum pattern of the heart rate variability and assessment of the relative contributions of sympathetic and parasympathetic cardiac nervous system control in athletes was characterized and differences between groups were significant.

The power spectral analysis of heart rate variability in athletes during dynamic exercise—Part I

Although both groups showed similar trends in heart rate (HR) at all stages of protocols, HR in athletes was significantly lower than that in nonathletes during rest and postexercise, indicating that vagal activity was enhanced by the adaptive changes in neural regulation produced by long‐term physical training.

Effect of long term physical training on heart rate variability

Results show that regular physical training enhances the synchronization between heart rate and respiratory frequency, with a more pronounced effect at a higher age, infer that exercising may be of value in the modification of cardiac autonomic activity in cardiac patients.

Exercise training and heart rate variability in older people.

Regular physical activity increases HRV (specifically in the very low and low frequency components) in older subjects, demonstrating that physical training may be an effective means to modify positively a factor that is associated with increased incidence of cardiac events.

Supine and standing sympathovagal balance in athletes and controls

The finding that pNN50 and LF, but not SD and CV, differed between the athletes and the controls would seem to demonstrate that the differences in autonomic control are reflected in the quality (balance between slow and fast heart rate fluctuations) rather than in the quantity of heart rate variability.

Relation between heart rate variability and training load in middle-distance runners.

This study confirmed that heavy training shifted the cardiac autonomic balance toward a predominance of the sympathetic over the parasympathetic drive, and heart rate variability appeared to be a better tool than resting heart rate to evaluate cumulated physical fatigue, as it magnified the induced changes in autonomic nervous system activity.

Neural regulation of heart rate variability in endurance athletes and sedentary controls.

Data support the hypothesis that endurance training modifies heart rate control in whole or in part through neurocardiac mechanisms.

Non-invasive evaluation of sympathovagal balance in athletes by time and frequency domain analyses of heart rate and blood pressure variability.

It is concluded that the best non-invasive method of evaluating the sympathovagal balance of athletes at supine rest is to measure SD of R-R intervals, RRI RMSSD, HF and total power of RRI variability.