Heart rate variability (HRV) is a noninvasive and practical measure of cardiac autonomic nervous system function, mainly the sympathetic and parasympathetic modulations of heart rate. A low HRV has been shown to be indicative of compromised cardiovascular health. Interventions that enhance HRV are therefore beneficial to cardiovascular health. Whole-body vibration (WBV) training has been proposed as an alternative time-efficient exercise intervention for the improvement of cardiovascular health. In this review, we discuss the effect of WBV both acute and after training on HRV. WBV training appears to be a useful therapeutic intervention to improve cardiac autonomic function in different populations, mainly through decreases in sympathovagal balance. Although the mechanisms by which WBV training improves symphathovagal balance are not yet well understood; enhancement of baroreflex sensitivity, nitric oxide bioavailability and angiotensin II levels seem to play an important role.
Keywords: autonomic function; heart rate variability; passive vibration; vibration training; whole-body vibration.
© 2018 Scandinavian Society of Clinical Physiology and Nuclear Medicine. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.