We studied the effects of aerobic exercise training and detraining in humans on post-exercise vagal reactivation. Ten healthy untrained men trained for 8 weeks using a cycle ergometer [70% of initial maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max) for 1 h, 3-4 days·week-1] and then did not exercise for the next 4 weeks. Post-exercise vagal reactivation was evaluated as the time constant of the beat-by-beat decrease in heart rate during the 30 s (t30) immediately following 4 min exercise at 80% of ventilatory threshold (VT). The VO2max and the oxygen uptake at VT had significantly increased after the 8 weeks training programme (P<0.0001, P<0.001, respectively). The t30 had shortened after training, and values after 4 weeks and 8 weeks of training were significantly shorter than the initial t30 (P<0.05, P<0.01, respectively). The change in the t30 after 8 weeks of training closely and inversely correlated with the initial t30 (r=-0.965, P<0.0001). The reduced t30 was prolonged significantly after 2 weeks of detraining, and had returned almost to the baseline level after a further 2 weeks of detraining. These results suggest that aerobic exercise training of moderate intensity accelerates post-exercise vagal reactivation, but that the accelerated function regresses within a few weeks of detraining.
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