Cardiac autonomic modulation during recovery from acute endurance versus resistance exercise

Kevin S. Heffernan, Erin E. Kelly, Scott R. Collier, bo Fernhall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

106 Scopus citations


The kinetics of parasympathetic reactivation after dynamic endurance exercise have been well elucidated. However, autonomic recovery of cardiac function after resistance exercise is not known. The purpose of this study was to assess cardiac autonomic modulations during recovery from acute resistance exercise versus acute endurance exercise. Electrocardiogram readings were collected before and 30 min after a single bout of endurance or resistance exercise in 14 male participants (aged 25.3±2.5 years). Heart rate (HR) variability was spectrally decomposed using an autoregressive approach. High frequency (HF) power was considered representative of vagal modulation. All values were expressed in both absolute and normalized units (normalized for change in total power). A mode-by-time interaction (P≥0.05) was detected for HR, which remained elevated to a greater extent after resistance exercise. Total power was significantly reduced after resistance exercise (P≥0.05) but not endurance exercise. An interaction (P≥0.05) was also detected for both a change in absolute natural log function HF power and natural log function low frequency (LF) power (P≥0.05), as both variables decreased more after resistance exercise. When normalized for changes in total power, interactions in LF and HF power were lost. The LF/HF ratio was significantly increased after both resistance and endurance exercise (P≥0.05). Greater elevations in HR after acute resistance exercise versus acute endurance exercise may be related to greater reductions in cardiac parasympathetic tone.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)80-86
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Preventive Cardiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • cardiovascular system
  • exercise
  • heart rate recovery
  • heart rate variability
  • parasympathetic nervous system

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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