Heart rate variability (HRV) is an indicator of the regulation of the heart, see Task Force (Circulation 93(5):1043-1065, 1996). This study compares the regulation of the heart in two cases of healthy subjects within real life situations: Marathon runners and shift workers. After an update on the state of the art on HRV processing, we specify our probabilistic model: We choose modeling heartbeat series by locally stationary Gaussian process (Dahlhaus in Ann Stat 25, 1997). HRV is then processed by the combination of two statistical methods: (1) Continuous wavelet transform for calculating the spectral density energy in the high frequency (HF) and low frequency (LF) bands and (2) Change point analysis to detect changes of heart regulation. Next, we plot the variations of the HF and LF energy in extreme conditions for both populations. This puts in light, that physical activities (rest, moderate sport, marathon race) can be ordered in a logical continuum. This allows to define a new index based on HF and LF energy that is log HF + log LF which appears relevant to measure HR regulation. The results obtained are pertinent but have to be completed by further studies.