The Effect of Age and Gender on Heart Rate Variability after Endurance Training


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Abstract

CARTER, J. B., E. W. BANISTER, and A. P. BLABER. The Effect of Age and Gender on Heart Rate Variability after Endurance Training. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc., Vol. 35, No. 8, pp. 1333–1340, 2003.PurposeThis research investigated the age and gender differences in cardiovascular adaptation to a standardized/quantified endurance-training program that included two taper periods.MethodsThe latter was analyzed from spectral analysis of electrocardiogram records of heart rate variability (HRV) at rest in groups of young (19–21 yr) and middle aged (40–45 yr), mixed gender groups (6 males and 6 females), pre- and poststandardized training. All subjects were recreational runners who completed the same 12-wk running program. Before, and subsequent to training, HRV was measured during supine rest and submaximal cycling.ResultsThere was a significant decrease in heart rate both at rest (2.7 ± 0.45 beats·min−1) and during submaximal exercise (8.1 ± 0.67 beats·min−1) in both age groups after training. After training, total spectral power increased (560.7 ± 308.9 ms2), as well as high-frequency power (362.3 ± 405.5 ms2), in both age groups at rest. The young group showed a greater increase in total power (849.0 ± 308.7 ms2) after the training program.ConclusionIt is concluded that a well-designed 12-wk endurance-training program will decrease resting and submaximal heart rate in both younger and older adults. The significant increase in HRV, total power, and high-frequency power in all groups after endurance training indicates that HRV measurement appears to provide an effective, noninvasive assessment of cardiovascular adaptation to aerobic training.

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