Chronotropic and pressor effects of water ingestion at rest and in response to incremental dynamic exercise

Goncalo V. Mendonca, Micael S. Teixeira, Kevin S. Heffernan, Bo Fernhall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Ingestion of water attenuates the chronotropic response to submaximal exercise. However, it is not known whether this effect is equally manifested during dynamic exercise below and above the ventilatory threshold (VT). We explored the effects of water ingestion on the heart rate response to an incremental cycle-ergometer protocol. In a randomized fashion, 19 healthy adults (10 men and nine women, age 20.9 ± 1.8 years) ingested 50 and 500 ml of water before completing a cycle-ergometer protocol on two separate days. The heart rate and oxygen uptake () responses to water ingestion were analysed both at rest and during exercise performed below and above the VT. The effects of water intake on brachial blood pressure were measured only at rest. Resting mean arterial pressure increased and resting heart rate decreased, but only after 500 ml of water (P < 0.05). Compared with that seen after 50 ml of water, the 500 ml volume elicited an overall decrease in submaximal heart rate (P < 0.05). In contrast, drinking 500 ml of water did not affect submaximal . The participants' maximal heart rate, maximal and VT were similar between conditions. Our results therefore indicate that, owing to its effects on submaximal heart rate over a broad spectrum of intensities, the drinking of water should be recognized as a potential confounder in cardiovascular exercise studies. However, by showing no differences between conditions for submaximal , they also suggest that the magnitude of heart rate reduction after drinking 500 ml of water may be of minimal physiological significance for exercise cardiorespiratory capacity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1133-1143
Number of pages11
JournalExperimental Physiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Physiology (medical)


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