We tested the hypothesis that postexercise reductions in arterial pressure and heart rate (HR) are mediated by a lowering of the operating point and a reduction in the gain of the arterial baroreflex. To test this hypothesis, spontaneous changes in arterial pressure and the reflex responses of HR were examined before and after a single bout of mild to moderate dynamic exercise in 19 spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR, 10 male and 9 female). Eleven SHR subjected to sinoaortic denervation (SAD) (6 male, 5 female) were also studied. All rats were instrumented with an arterial catheter for the measurement of arterial pressure and HR. After exercise, arterial pressure and HR were reduced below preexercise levels. Furthermore, the operating point and spontaneous gain (G) of the arterial baroreflex were reduced. Specifically, after exercise, the spontaneous range of HR (P1, 50%), the pressure at the midpoint of the pressure range (P3, 13%) and the HR at the midpoint of the HR range (H3, 10%), the spontaneous minimum HR (P4, 8%) and maximum HR (10%), and G (76%) were significantly attenuated. SAD significantly attenuated the relationship between arterial pressure and HR by reducing G (males 94%, females 95%). These results demonstrate that acute exercise resulted in a postexercise resetting of the operating point and a reduction in the gain of the arterial baroreflex. Furthermore, these data suggest that postexercise reductions in arterial pressure and HR are mediated by a lowering of the operating point of the arterial baroreflex.