Proceedings of The Physiological Society

University of Oxford (2011) Proc Physiol Soc 23, PC260

Poster Communications

Human Aging and Heart Rate Variability, Psychomotor Speed and Neurodynamic Characteristics in Rowers

O. V. Dranitsin1, K. Mazmanian2, A. Ivanova3, G. V. Korobeynikov4, G. Y. Rossoha5

1. Department of Physical Rehabilitation, Open International University of Human Development “Ukraine”, Kiev, Ukraine. 2. Laboratory of Structural Biology, Institute of Biomedical Sciences, Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan. 3. Laboratory of Ergogenic Aid, State Scientific Research Institute of Physical Culture and Sports, Kiev, Ukraine. 4. Department of Sport Biology, The National University of Physical Education and Sport of Ukraine, Kiev, Ukraine. 5. Psychophysiology Laboratory, State Scientific Research Institute of Physical Culture and Sports, Kiev, Ukraine.


  • Figure 1. Correlation between age and heart rate variability characteristics during voluntary and paced breathing (straight line non-linear regression). SVB - supine voluntary breathing; STVB - standing voluntary breathing; SPB - supine paced breathing; STPB - standing paced breathing.

Researchers are in agreement that chronic exercise training is associated with an increase in parasympathetic tone following a period of aerobic training sessions, and that elite endurance sport athletes have decreased heart rates (HR). It has been hypothesised that, in athletes; the decrease in R-R intervals associated with age is caused by parasympathetic activation (Aubert et al. 2003; Grant and Ker 2008). The aim of this study was as follows: to analyze the relationships between heart rate variability during voluntary and paced breathing, psychomotor speed, neurodynamic characteristics and age in elite rowers. Forty eight subjects (25 males and 23 female) participated in this study. All study subjects were the members of the national rowing team of Ukraine. A HR monitor (Polar S810i) was used to record RR intervals. Data were analyzed using HRV analysis software. Psychophysiological standardized tests were conducted, including tests for simple reaction time, multiple reaction time and neurodynamic characteristics. HRV indices during voluntary and paced breathing did not differ between men and women (Kruskal-Wallis, followed by Dunn’s Multiple Comparison Test). In addition, HRV data did not significantly differ between voluntary and paced breathing in the same posture. However, HRV indices during voluntary and paced breathing were observed to differentially correlate with age. Furthermore, we identified a more pronounced correlation between age (using Spearman’s correlation) and RR intervals during paced breathing (r = 0.489, P = 0.015, CI95% = 0.094 to 0.751) than during voluntary breathing (r = 0.392, P = 0.0584, CI95% = -0.02667 to 0.6933) in the supine position in males. Although RR intervals did not correlate with age in the standing position in males, a significant correlation was found in both supine and standing positions in females. Compared to RR intervals, HF (n.u.) (high frequency component (normalized units)) was found to weakly correlate with age, and only in females. No significant correlation was identified between non-linear Poincaré plot parameters SD1 (minor axis), SD2 (major axis) and LF (n.u.) (low frequency component (normalized units)) in both positions in males and females. The neurodynamic characteristics investigated in the present study did not significantly correlate with age in males or females. In addition, analysis of psychophysiological and neurodynamic characteristics did not reveal any significant relationships with HRV indices in either positions. In conclusion, the data presented here supports the hypothesis that the heart rate decrease associated with long term vigorous exercise is only partially due to vagal withdrawal, and thus another mechanism may play a role.

Where applicable, experiments conform with Society ethical requirements