Effect of high intensity intermittent training on heart rate variability in prepubescent children

Eur J Appl Physiol. 2009 Mar;105(5):731-8. doi: 10.1007/s00421-008-0955-8. Epub 2008 Dec 24.


The purpose of this study was to observe the effect of high intermittent exercise training on children's heart rate variability (HRV). Thirty-eight children (age 9.6 +/- 1.2 years) were divided into an intermittent (IT, n = 22) and a control group (CON, n = 16). At baseline and after a 7-week training period, HRV parameters, peak oxygen consumption (VO(2peak)) and maximal aerobic velocity (MAV) were assessed. Training consisted of three 30-min sessions composed by short maximal and supramaximal runs at velocities ranging from 100 up to 190% of MAV. HRV was computed in time and frequency domains. Training resulted in a significant increase in MAV and VO(2peak) in IT (P < 0.05) only without any significant change in HRV parameters for the two groups. Thus, 7 weeks of high intermittent exercise training allows to improve aerobic fitness. However, this modality of training was not sufficient enough to underline a possible effect on the heart rate autonomic regulation in children.

MeSH terms

  • Autonomic Nervous System
  • Child
  • Electrocardiography
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Female
  • Heart Rate / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Oxygen Consumption / physiology
  • Physical Endurance / physiology
  • Random Allocation