Pilot Study for Estimating Physical Fatigue Based on Heart Rate Variability and Reaction Time

  • Ardo AllikEmail author
  • Kristjan Pilt
  • Moonika Viigimäe
  • Ivo Fridolin
Conference paper
Part of the IFMBE Proceedings book series (IFMBE, volume 76)


The aim of this study was to evaluate how heart rate variability (HRV) and reaction time differ when measured in the morning and in the evening of one physically exhausting day in order to explore if these parameters would be sufficient for estimating physical fatigue accumulated during one day. Five different experiment days with fixed schedules were conducted which consisted of measurement set in the morning, physical exercise during the day and measurement set in the evening. The total average reaction time was lower in the morning (228 ± 18 ms) compared to the values measured in the evening (257 ± 22 ms). Both assessed HRV parameters SDNN and RMSSD showed a tendency to decrease during the day (total averages were respectively 61 ± 6 ms and 40 ± 6 ms in the morning vs 37 ± 4 ms and 24 ± 3 ms in the evening). This decrease was more prominent in the heart rate recovery phase compared to the resting heart rate. The results of this study give promising results for new methods for estimating daily physical fatigue and could be a basis for multiple future studies.


Heart rate variability Heart rate recovery Reaction time Fatigue 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

The research was funded partly by the Estonian Ministry of Education and Research under institutional research financing IUTs 19-1 and 19-2 and by Estonian Centre of Excellence in IT (EXCITE) funded by European Regional Development Fund and supported by Study IT programme of HITSA.

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest. All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Tallinn University of TechnologyTallinnEstonia

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