Skip to main content
Log in

Heart rate variability in smokers, sedentary and aerobically fit individuals

  • Research Paper
  • Published:
Clinical Autonomic Research Aims and scope Submit manuscript

Abstract

To test the hypothesis that certain lifestyles may affect cardiovascular regulatory mechanisms, heart rate variability (HRV) among three age-matched groups with different lifestyles (smoking, sedentary and aerobically fit) were compared. Heart rate variability was defined as the difference in heart rate during inhalation vs. exhalation. Heart rate was obtained from normal RR intervals, using a continuous electrocardiogram recording, while subjects were seated and breathing at an augmented tidal volume, and also while subjects were standing and breathing at normal tidal volumes. In the physically active group, heart rate variability was significantly elevated at rest as well as during some of the autonomic tests, when compared to the sedentary and smoker groups (p < 0.05). A hypothesis to explain this finding is that smoking or a sedentary lifestyle reduces vagal tone, whereas a physically active lifestyle, resulting in enhanced aerobic fitness, increases vagal tone. These findings may have cardiovascular health implications.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Subscribe and save

Springer+ Basic
EUR 32.99 /Month
  • Get 10 units per month
  • Download Article/Chapter or Ebook
  • 1 Unit = 1 Article or 1 Chapter
  • Cancel anytime
Subscribe now

Buy Now

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Similar content being viewed by others

References

  1. Hirai T, Sasayama S, Kawasaki T, Yagi S. Stiffness of systemic arteries in patients with myocardial infarction.Circulation 1989;80: 78–86.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  2. Knoke J, Hunninghake D, Heiss G. Physiological markers of smoking and their relation to coronary heart disease.Arteriosclerosis 1987;7: 477–482.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  3. Moffatt R. Effects of cessation of smoking on serum lipids and high density lipoprotein-cholesterol.Atherosclerosis 1988;74: 85–89.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  4. Mjos O. Lipid effects of smoking.Am Heart J 1988;115: 272–275.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  5. FitzGerald G, Oates J, Nowak J. Cigarette smoking and haemostatic function.Am Heart J 1988;115: 267–270.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  6. Benowitz NL. Pharmacologic aspects of cigarette smoking and nicotine addiction.N Engl J Med 1988;319: 1318–1330.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  7. Van Hoof R, Hespel P, Fagard R, Lijnen P, Staessen J, Amery A. Effect of endurance training on blood pressure at rest, during exercise and during 24 h in sedentary men.Am J Cardiol 1989;63: 945–949.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  8. Barney J, Ebert T, Groban L, Farrell P, Hughes VC, Smith J. Carotid baroreflex responsiveness in high-fit and sedentary young men.J Appl Physiol 1988;65: 2190–2194.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  9. Terenzi T, Beadle L, Gallagher D, De Meersman R. An alteration in alterial compliance as a response to chronic aerobic exercise.Med Sci Sports Exer 1992;24: S29.

    Google Scholar 

  10. De Meersman R. Exercise training and the respiratory sinus arrhythmia.Eur J App Physiol 1992;64: 434–436.

    Google Scholar 

  11. Gill R. Measurement of blood flow by ultrasound: accuracy and sources of error.Ultrasound Med Biol 1985;11: 625–641.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  12. Golding L, Meyers R, Sinning W.Y's Way to Physical Fitness: The complete guide to fitness testing and instruction. 3rd edition. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics Publishers, 1989.

    Google Scholar 

  13. Fouad F, Tarazi R, Ferrario C, Fighaly S, Alicandri C. Assessment of parasympathetic control of heart rate by non-invasive method.Am J Physiol 1984;246: H838-H842.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  14. De Meersman R, Faroudja N, Juris P, Higgins J, Gentile A. A computerized respiratory sinus arrythmia program for the noninvasive assessment of parasympathetic activity.Comp Biol Med 1990;20 (suppl 2): 75–94.

    Google Scholar 

  15. Ewing DJ. Cardiac autonomic neuropathy. In: Jarrett RJ, ed. Diabetes and Heart Disease. Amsterdam: Elsevier, 1984: 99–132.

    Google Scholar 

  16. Malliani A, Pagani M, Lombardi F, Furlan R, Guzzetti S, Cerutti S. Spectral analysis to assess increased sympathetic tone in arterial hypertension.Hypertension 1991;17 (suppl 3): 36–42.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  17. Verrier RL. Neural factors and ventricular instability. In: Wellens HJJ, Kulbertus HE, eds.Sudden Death. The Hague. 1980, 137.

  18. Kleiger RE, Miller JP, Bigger TJ Jr, Moss AJ and the Multicenter Postinfarction Research Group. Heart rate variability: decreased heart rate variability and its association with increased mortality after myocardial infarction.Am J Cardiol 1987;59: 256–262.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Gallagher, D., Terenzi, T. & de Meersman, R. Heart rate variability in smokers, sedentary and aerobically fit individuals. Clinical Autonomic Research 2, 383–387 (1992). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01831395

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01831395

Key words

Navigation