Objective: There is limited research available regarding a possible relationship between resting heart rate variability (HRV) and post-exercise heart rate recovery (HRR). The aim of this study was to examine the relationship between resting HRV and HRR after maximal exercise.
Methods: Sixty-six college age men participated in this study. HRV was measured in a supine position before and for 30 min after a maximal exercise test on a treadmill. HRV was assessed in the time (i.e., SDNN) and frequency (i.e., normalized HF power [HFnu] and normalized LF:HF ratio [LFnu:HFnu]) domains. Heart rate was recorded at maximal exercise (MHR), and at 1- (HR1) and 2- (HR2) min of the cool-down recovery period. HRR was determined from the difference between MHR and HR1 (HRR1) and the difference between MHR and HR2 (HRR2).
Results: No significant relationship was found between resting HRV and HRR1 or HRR2. However, SDNN was significantly inversely correlated to MHR (P < 0.05), and HFnu was significantly inversely correlated to MHR (P < 0.01), HR1 (P < 0.01), and HR2 (P < 0.05). Furthermore, MHR accounted for the greatest variation in both SDNN and HFnu (P < 0.05).
Interpretation: Therefore, the HRV may not be related to the recovery of HR expressed as a slope (i.e., HRR) within 2 min following a maximal exercise test. This is possibly due to a significant inverse relationship between HRV and MHR, HR1 and HR2 post-maximal exercise.