Exercise and autonomic function

Coron Artery Dis. 2000 Mar;11(2):129-35. doi: 10.1097/00019501-200003000-00007.


The complex interplay between the dichotomous subdivisions of the autonomic nervous system establishes and maintains a delicately tuned homeostasis in spite of an ever-changing environment. Aerobic exercise training can increase activity of the parasympathetic nervous system and decrease sympathetic activity. Conversely, it is well-documented that cardiac disease is often characterized by attenuated parasympathetic activity and heightened sympathetic tone. A correlation between autonomic disequilibrium and disease has led to the hypothesis that exercise training, as a therapy that restores the autonomic nervous system towards normal function, may be associated with, and possibly responsible for, outcome improvements in various populations. This is merely one of the many benefits that is conferred by chronic exercise training and reviewed in this issue.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Autonomic Nervous System / physiology*
  • Coronary Disease / prevention & control*
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Hemodynamics / physiology
  • Homeostasis / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Physical Endurance
  • Physical Fitness
  • Sensitivity and Specificity