Journal of sports sciences vol:24 issue:11 pages:1137-47
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of a realistic, feasible, and commonly used fitness training programme on cardiac autonomic control in 14 sedentary men aged 62.0 +/- 6.1 years (mean +/- s). All participants performed a one-year fitness training programme in which training intensity and frequency were specifically chosen to be compliant for the majority of the participants (2-3 sessions per week at moderate intensity). At the same time, a reference group consisting of 15 sedentary age-matched men (age 64.2 +/- 6.5 years) did not change their habitual physical activity. Measurements were performed before and after the training intervention. Cardiac autonomic control was inferred from resting values (supine and standing) of heart rate variability (HRV) computed in the frequency domain over 10-min intervals. Endurance capacity was evaluated during a maximal incremental bicycle ergometer test. In spite of an increase in peak oxygen consumption (VO2peak) by 6.4% after training, heart rate in the training group remained unchanged at rest and at the same metabolic demand. No changes in resting parameters of HRV were shown for either groups or positions. Results from this study provide no evidence of a clinically meaningful increase in the vagal modulation to the sinus node at rest after one year of low-volume and moderate-intensity fitness training in men aged 55-75 years.