Physical fitness contributes to cardio-respiratory synchronization

Annu Int Conf IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc. 2019 Jul:2019:4957-4960. doi: 10.1109/EMBC.2019.8857193.


Cardio-respiratory synchronization is a phenomenon of particular interest- especially at a 1:1 ratio- and may give greater insight into the underlying mechanisms of cardio-respiratory communication. Synchronization of this ratio is hypothesised to occur when breathing rate exceeds heart rate, which is the premise of this research. A novel experimental design focused on guiding elevated respiration to induce the entrainment of heart rate, and produce an equivalent rise in value. Application of instantaneous phase for identification and analysis of synchronization allowed for a reliable method of measuring the interaction between these stochastic processes. We have identified 1:1 phase synchronization in all volunteers measured. Longer synchronization episodes were observed reliably in athletic individuals, corroborating previous research for spontaneous breathing. This observation suggests that cardio-respiratory synchronization at all respiration rates is associated with a common underlying communication mechanism. Furthermore, it presents cardio-respiratory synchronization as a potential future measurement of fitness and autonomic health.

MeSH terms

  • Autonomic Nervous System
  • Cardiorespiratory Fitness*
  • Heart Rate*
  • Humans
  • Respiratory Rate*