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A longitudinal study of physical activity and heart rate recovery: CARDIA, 1987-1993

PURPOSE: Autonomic nervous system function may be a mechanism by which frequent physical activity is associated with better coronary heart disease outcomes. In a diverse, population-based sample, we tested whether physical activity participation was associated with higher parasympathetic function. METHODS: Participants in the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study underwent symptom-limited graded exercise testing at baseline (1985-1986; N=3446) and at 7 yr follow-up (N=1627). Heart rate recovery (HRR), the difference between maximum heart rate (HR) and HR 2 min after test cessation, was used to estimate parasympathetic activity. RESULTS: Participants who self-reported in the highest tertile of total physical activity (the sum of moderate- and heavy-intensity activities) had significantly faster HRR than participants in the lowest tertile (45.1 vs 41.8 beats.min, P<0.01), and the odds of having abnormal HRR (

Authors: Carnethon MR; Jacobs DR Jr; Sidney S; Sternfeld B; Gidding SS; Shoushtari C; Liu K

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2005 Apr;37(4):606-12.

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