Special Issue "Heart Rate Variability in Sustainable Health and Sport Contexts: New Insights and Perspectives"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Health and Sustainability".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2021).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Santos Villafaina
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Faculty of Sport Science, University of Extremadura, 10003 Cáceres, Spain
Interests: chronic pain; fibromyalgia; HRV; exergames; EEG
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Juan Pedro Fuentes García
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Didactic and Behavioral Analysis of Sports (ADICODE) Research Group, Faculty of Sport Sciences, The University of Extremadura, 10003 Cáceres, Spain
Interests: tennis training; motor learning; psychophysiological evaluation; sports medicine and exercise; brain activity; cardiovascular physiology; rehabilitation
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Daniel Collado-Mateo
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Rey Juan Carlos University, Centre for Sport Studies, Fuenlabrada, Spain
Interests: physical exercise; physical function; fibromyalgia; health-related quality of life; virtual reality
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Heart rate variability (HRV), which can be defined as the beat-to-beat variability in the R–R interval, is a reproducible and non-invasive measure of the autonomic nervous system function. It is considered as a health biomarker since a low HRV is associated with an increased risk of death from several causes and with some chronic diseases. However, physical exercise has been shown to improve HRV, and therefore the health status in chronic disease populations.

Moreover, HRV is widely used in sport contexts to control the training load as well as pre-competitive anxiety. In this regard, HRV is considered as a measure of heart–brain interaction which can be modified by cognitive or attentional demands. This is why HRV has been used not only to control physical training but cognitive load.

In this context, new approaches in the use of HRV as an outcome to control physical or cognitive loads are of great interest for this Special Issue. Moreover, authors are encouraged to explore the effects of physical exercise on HRV in healthy or special populations. The use of non-linear measures is also of particular interest for this Special Issue. Original articles, systematic reviews, and meta-analyses are welcome.

Mr. Santos Villafaina
Prof. Dr. Juan Pedro Fuentes García
Dr. Daniel Collado-Mateo
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • heart rate variability
  • physical exercise
  • fitness
  • chronic diseases
  • cognitive load
  • training load

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

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Article
Effects of Acute-Partial Sleep Deprivation on High-Intensity Exercise Performance and Cardiac Autonomic Activity in Healthy Adolescents
Sustainability 2021, 13(16), 8769; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13168769 - 05 Aug 2021
Viewed by 400
Abstract
Performing high-intensity exercise (HIE) in the morning under sleep deprivation may harm the health benefits related to sufficient sleep and HIE. Therefore, the aim of this study was to explore the effects of acute-partial sleep deprivation on HIE performance and cardiac autonomic activity [...] Read more.
Performing high-intensity exercise (HIE) in the morning under sleep deprivation may harm the health benefits related to sufficient sleep and HIE. Therefore, the aim of this study was to explore the effects of acute-partial sleep deprivation on HIE performance and cardiac autonomic activity by monitoring heart rate variability (HRV) indices. Twenty-nine healthy male adolescents in college were recruited to perform a one-time HIE session on the treadmill (Bruce protocol) after ≥7 h of normal control sleep (control) and after ≤4 h of acute-partial sleep deprivation (SD). At the beginning of control and SD periods and after exercising under the two sleep conditions, heart rate (HR), standard deviation of normal to normal (SDNN), square root of the mean squared differences of successive NN intervals (RMSSD), normalized low frequency power (LFn), normalized high frequency power (HFn), number of pairs adjacent NN intervals differing by ≥50 ms in the entire recording count divided by the total number of all NN intervals (pNN50), and short axis and long axis value in Poincaré plot (SD1 and SD2) were measured at rest in an upright sitting position. The participants slept 7.63 ± 0.52 and 3.78 ± 0.69 h during control and SD periods, respectively (p < 0.001). Compared with the control participants, those suffering sleep deprivation experienced a significant decrease in exercise duration, RMSSD, HFn, SD1, and pNN50 as well as a significant increase in maximum heart rate during exercise (p < 0.05). SDNN, RMSSD, HFn, SD1, and pNN50 decreased significantly after exercise (p < 0.05 and 0.01 and 0.001, respectively). In summary, acute-partial sleep deprivation affected aerobic exercise performance the next morning and led to decreased cardiac vagus activity and cardiac autonomic dysfunction. Full article
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Communication
Field Monitoring the Effects of Overnight Shift Work on Specialist Tactical Police Training with Heart Rate Variability Analysis
Sustainability 2021, 13(14), 7895; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13147895 - 15 Jul 2021
Viewed by 597
Abstract
Police work exposes officers to high levels of stress. Special emergency response team (SERT) service exposes personnel to additional demands. Specifically, the circadian cycles of SERT operators are subject to disruption, resulting in decreased capacity to compensate in response to changing demands. Adaptive [...] Read more.
Police work exposes officers to high levels of stress. Special emergency response team (SERT) service exposes personnel to additional demands. Specifically, the circadian cycles of SERT operators are subject to disruption, resulting in decreased capacity to compensate in response to changing demands. Adaptive regulation loss can be measured through heart rate variability (HRV) analysis. While HRV Trends with health and performance indicators, few studies have assessed the effect of overnight shift work on HRV in specialist police. Therefore, this study aimed to determine the effects overnight shift work on HRV in specialist police. HRV was analysed in 11 SERT officers and a significant (p = 0.037) difference was found in pRR50 levels across the training day (percentage of R-R intervals varying by >50 ms) between those who were off-duty and those who were on duty the night prior. HRV may be a valuable metric for quantifying load holistically and can be incorporated into health and fitness monitoring and personnel allocation decision making. Full article
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Article
Slow-Paced Breathing: Influence of Inhalation/Exhalation Ratio and of Respiratory Pauses on Cardiac Vagal Activity
Sustainability 2021, 13(14), 7775; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13147775 - 12 Jul 2021
Viewed by 576
Abstract
Slow-paced breathing has been shown to enhance the self-regulation abilities of athletes via its influence on cardiac vagal activity. However, the role of certain respiratory parameters (i.e., inhalation/exhalation ratio and presence of a respiratory pause between respiratory phases) still needs to be clarified. [...] Read more.
Slow-paced breathing has been shown to enhance the self-regulation abilities of athletes via its influence on cardiac vagal activity. However, the role of certain respiratory parameters (i.e., inhalation/exhalation ratio and presence of a respiratory pause between respiratory phases) still needs to be clarified. The aim of this experiment was to investigate the influence of these respiratory parameters on the effects of slow-paced breathing on cardiac vagal activity. A total of 64 athletes (27 female; Mage = 22, age range = 18–30 years old) participated in a within-subject experimental design. Participants performed six breathing conditions within one session, with a 5 min washout period between each condition. Each condition lasted 5 min, with 30 respiratory cycles, and each respiratory cycle lasted 10 s (six cycles per minute), with inhalation/exhalation ratios of 0.8, 1.0, 1.2; and with or without respiratory pauses (0.4 s) between respiratory phases. Results indicated that the root mean square of successive differences (RMSSD), a marker of cardiac vagal activity, was higher when exhalation was longer than inhalation. The presence of a brief (0.4 s) post-inhalation and post-exhalation respiratory pause did not further influence RMSSD. Athletes practicing slow-paced breathing are recommended to use an inhalation/exhalation ratio in which the exhalation phase is longer than the inhalation phase. Full article
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Article
Cardiac Effects of a Rowing Training Program in Breast Cancer Survivors
Sustainability 2021, 13(12), 6805; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13126805 - 16 Jun 2021
Viewed by 337
Abstract
The aim of this study was to determine whether a rowing training program could improve cardiac function in women (n = 28) with the mean age of 52.30 ± 3.78 years who survived breast cancer (stage 1: 4.55%; 2: 36.36%; 3: 54.54%; [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to determine whether a rowing training program could improve cardiac function in women (n = 28) with the mean age of 52.30 ± 3.78 years who survived breast cancer (stage 1: 4.55%; 2: 36.36%; 3: 54.54%; and 4: 4.55%) diagnosed 4.68 ± 3.00 years previously and underwent subsequent surgery (preservation: 56.52%; total mastectomy: 39.13%; and double mastectomy: 4.35%). Participants completed a 12-week training program consisting of three weekly sessions lasting 60–90 min with a progressive intensity increase according to the Börg scale. The assessments performed were blood pressure and pulse measurements both at rest and after performing the six-minute walk test to collect data on cardiac behavior and aerobic performance. The results showed statistically significant differences in cardiovascular system efficiency measured on the basis of heart rate both before (−12.63 ± 14.68 bpm) and after the six-minute walk test (−11.46 ± 28.39 bpm), increase in the distance achieved in the aerobic endurance test (51.56 ± 48.26 m) as well as decrease in diastolic (−13.6 ± 7.85 mm Hg) and systolic (−6.60 ± 9.10 mm Hg) blood pressure. These results suggest that rowing training programs could be a strategy to consider in this population for the benefits observed in heart rate, blood pressure and aerobic performance, which would lead to improved general health and quality of life. Full article
Article
Is Motivation Associated with Mental Fatigue during Padel Trainings? A Pilot Study
Sustainability 2021, 13(10), 5755; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13105755 - 20 May 2021
Viewed by 468
Abstract
Motivation seems to enhance athletes’ mental efforts, but this has not been tested yet in padel. The objective was to test the effects of motivation on mental fatigue during padel trainings. Thirty-six elite youth players participated (twenty-two males, Mage = 17.40, SD [...] Read more.
Motivation seems to enhance athletes’ mental efforts, but this has not been tested yet in padel. The objective was to test the effects of motivation on mental fatigue during padel trainings. Thirty-six elite youth players participated (twenty-two males, Mage = 17.40, SDage = 2.16, and fourteen females, Mage = 17.90, SDage = 3.21). We designed four padel training matches, introducing a constraint in two of them in a counterbalanced order. The constraint was: Couples that win more sets in these two matches obtain a free lesson with a professional padel player. Motivation was quantified by a questionnaire before the matches. Moreover, subjective feelings of mental load and fatigue were measured with questionnaires, and objective measures of fatigue were quantified through heart-rate variability and reaction time. Results suggest that the constraint significantly increases motivation (p < 0.001). Furthermore, in these matches, players reported significantly higher feelings and objective measures of fatigue (p < 0.001 for HRV and VAS; p = 0.04 for reaction time). An increase in the resources used by the neural facilitation system, mediated by higher values of motivation, seems a relevant candidate to explain this phenomenon. Full article
Article
HRV in Active-Duty Special Forces and Public Order Military Personnel
Sustainability 2021, 13(7), 3867; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13073867 - 31 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 677
Abstract
Heart rate variability (HRV) is a simple, non-invasive, real-time analyzable, and highly reproducible measurement that captures incidences for assessing a person’s health and physical condition. Public security jobs are characterized by major exposure to risk factors known to influence the cardiovascular response to [...] Read more.
Heart rate variability (HRV) is a simple, non-invasive, real-time analyzable, and highly reproducible measurement that captures incidences for assessing a person’s health and physical condition. Public security jobs are characterized by major exposure to risk factors known to influence the cardiovascular response to stimuli, e.g., night shifts, highly physically demanding activity, and acute stress activity. This study aimed to evaluate the HRV parameters in a population of 112 male personnel of the special forces and public order of the Carabinieri, aged 25–59, when engaged in several duty tasks, such as paratroopers, night shift police station officers, night shift patrol, dynamic precision shooting evaluative team, dynamic precision shooting non-evaluative team, and office clerks (used as control group). During the specific task of each participant, the HRV parameters were collected with wearable devices and processed. The HRV parameters in the time and frequency domains collected were average heart rate, standard deviation of all normal RR intervals, root mean square of successive differences in adjacent normal-to-normal (NN) intervals, very-low-frequency power, low-frequency power, high-frequency power, stress index, parasympathetic nervous system activity index, and sympathetic nervous system activity index. Parametric tests for independent series to compare the HRV parameters by subgroups within the study subjects were used. A multivariate linear regression analysis was conducted to evaluate the association between the HRV parameters and some personal and organizational factors. The comparison between different subgroups showed that activities with a high demand for concentration and precision, as is the case with paratroopers and dynamic precision shooters, differ significantly from activities that can be defined as routine, such as office work. Other activities, such as patrolling or remote management from operations centers, although including critical elements, did not deviate significantly from the control group. The study of HRV parameters is therefore a useful tool for occupational physicians, both for addressing work suitability assessments and for better targeting health promotion campaigns, to be considered as being aimed at monitoring the subject’s physiological parameters, and not at the diagnosis of any pathological condition, which should always be carried out by the medical specialist. Full article
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Article
Cardiac Autonomic Effects of Yearly Athletic Retreats on Elite Basket Players: Usefulness of a Unitary Autonomic Nervous System Indicator
Sustainability 2021, 13(4), 2330; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13042330 - 21 Feb 2021
Viewed by 501
Abstract
In most sports athletic performance is determined by a combination of hard and soft modifiable components, encompassing physical and psychological elements that can be assessed with modern techniques based respectively on simple friendly methods: analysis of HRV and questionnaires. Specifically a novel % [...] Read more.
In most sports athletic performance is determined by a combination of hard and soft modifiable components, encompassing physical and psychological elements that can be assessed with modern techniques based respectively on simple friendly methods: analysis of HRV and questionnaires. Specifically a novel % rank Autonomic Nervous System Indicator (ANSI) seems particularly useful also in elite sports. In this investigation we assessed ANSI capacity to detect the expected changes in cardiac autonomic regulation induced in the Italian basketball team by the participation (18 subjects) to the yearly biweekly Alpine training summer camp. We observed that ANSI increased from 58.8 ± 32.5 to 81.7 ± 27.5 (at the end of training camp) and did not change further in the subsequent initial weeks of competition season (overall p < 0.001). Congruent changes were observed in non-linear indices. Concomitantly indices of somatic symptoms were slightly reduced just at the end of the alpine training. We conclude that analysis of HRV and questionnaires might offer a simple, useful technique to monitor changes in cardiac autonomic regulation and psychological state in elite athletes providing a convenient additional element to evaluation of training routines also in the fields. Full article
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Review

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Review
Physical Exercise Improves Heart-Rate Variability in Obese Children and Adolescents: A Systematic Review
Sustainability 2021, 13(5), 2946; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13052946 - 08 Mar 2021
Viewed by 638
Abstract
Background: Childhood obesity has negative impact on heart-rate variability (HRV) and, thereby, on the cardiovascular health of children and adolescents. Thus, physical-exercise interventions were proposed to increase HRV. The present systematic review aims to provide an up-to-date analysis of research on the effect [...] Read more.
Background: Childhood obesity has negative impact on heart-rate variability (HRV) and, thereby, on the cardiovascular health of children and adolescents. Thus, physical-exercise interventions were proposed to increase HRV. The present systematic review aims to provide an up-to-date analysis of research on the effect of physical-exercise interventions on HRV in obese children and adolescents. Methods: An electronic search of the literature was performed, and 10 articles were included. PRISMA guideline methodology was employed. Results: Physical-exercise interventions predominantly involved aerobic training; however, alternative training programs, including judo or recreational soccer, were found. The duration of intervention ranged from 6 to 24 weeks, with a training frequency of between 2 and 7 times per week. The duration of sessions typically ranged from 40 to 60 min. Conclusions: Results of the included articles indicated that physical-exercise intervention increased the HRV and thereby the autonomic modulation of obese children and adolescents. This is significant, as HRV is associated with cardiovascular health. Such physical-exercise interventions are crucial to reduce weight and improve cardiovascular health in children and adolescents, thereby achieving a sustainable future. Full article
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