A Physiological Review of Mechanisms Involved in the Cardiovascular Correlates of Muscular Activity

  • A. J. Gelsema
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (NSSA, volume 114)


In psychophysiological research concerning the mechanisms underlying behavioral reactions to stimuli of widely different origins, it is not uncommon to use heart rate (HR) or its inverse, cardiac cycle length, as a measure of the mental events involved in the processing of those stimuli. On the other hand, it has been recognized that the rhythm of our heart beat is continuously controlled by neural, humoral and mechanical factors in order to adjust its function to the variable needs of the organism’s tissues. Among these, one of the most variable types of demand arises from skeletal muscles. It is our daily experience that our heart beats the more frequently, the more intense the physical exertion. This phenomenon is only the most conspicious of a series of events that occur in order to adapt the circulation to the muscles’ need of blood. The physiology of the control mechanism underlying this adaptation will be the subject of the present paper.


Maximal Voluntary Contraction Isometric Contraction Cardiovascular Response Contracting Muscle Central Command 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. J. Gelsema
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Interfaculty of Physical EducationFree UniversityAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Department of PhysiologyUniversity of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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