Effects of aerobic training on heart rate dynamics in sedentary subjects

J Appl Physiol (1985). 2003 Jul;95(1):364-72. doi: 10.1152/japplphysiol.00751.2002. Epub 2003 Mar 21.


This study was designed to assess the effects of moderate- and high-volume aerobic training on the time domain and on spectral and fractal heart rate (HR) variability indexes. Sedentary subjects were randomized into groups with moderate-volume training (n = 20), high-volume training (n = 20), and controls (n = 15). The training period was 8 wk, including 6 sessions/wk at an intensity of 70-80% of the maximum HR, lasting for 30 min/session in the moderate-volume group and 60 min/session in the high-volume group. Time domain, frequency domain, and short-term fractal scaling measures of HR variability were analyzed over a 24-h period. Mean HR decreased from 70 +/- 7 to 64 +/- 8 beats/min and from 67 +/- 5 to 60 +/- 6 beats/min (P < 0.001 for both) for the moderate- and high-volume training groups, respectively. The normalized high-frequency spectral component increased in both groups (P < 0.05). The normalized low-frequency component decreased significantly (P < 0.05), resulting in a marked decrease in low frequency-to-high frequency ratio in both groups. In addition, short-term scaling exponent decreased in both groups (P < 0.001). There were no significant differences in the changes of HR variability indexes between groups. Aerobic training in sedentary subjects results in altered autonomic regulation of HR toward vagal dominance. A moderate training volume is a sufficient intervention to induce these beneficial effects.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anaerobic Threshold / physiology
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Female
  • Fractals
  • Heart Rate / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Oxygen Consumption / physiology
  • Physical Fitness / physiology*