Power spectrum of heart rate fluctuations during incremental cycle exercise

Yoshio Nakamura, Keiichi Tamaki, Minoru Shinohara, Yuichi Kimura, Isao Muraoka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Spectral analysis was applied to investigate whether the system for control of heart rate (HR) is influenced by exercise intensity. Five healthy males performed incremental exercise on an electrically braked cycle ergometer until exhaustion. The work rate was increased at 12 W/min following 2 min of exercise at a constant load of 20 W. HR was measured every second from R-R intervals. The power spectrum was calculated every 10 s using the FFT method for 64 consecutive data points. Power spectra during 20 W exercise showed a similar pattern to those in previous reports on resting HR perturbations. Although interindividual differences were observed for the spectrum patterns related to exercise intensity, there was a characteristic pattern revealing dissipation of the spectral power above a frequency of 0.2 Hz for all subjects. This pattern was not maintained for more than 1 min in any of the subjects, and was followed by a semirandom pattern whose magnitude varied among the subjects. These results support the hypothesis that the cardiac pacemaker is influenced by exercise intensity, presumably due to sympatho-vagal interaction with the respiratory control system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)208-214
Number of pages7
Journaljapanese journal of physical fitness and sports medicine
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1989


  • heart rate
  • incremental exercise
  • power spectrum
  • sympatho-vagal control system

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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