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Auton Neurosci. 2013 Jan;173(1-2):14-21. doi: 10.1016/j.autneu.2012.10.007. Epub 2012 Nov 15.

Interest of analyses of heart rate variability in the prevention of fatigue states in senior runners.

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CHU de Grenoble: UF Recherche Exercice, Médecine du sport et des activités physiques & Laboratoire du sommeil, Grenoble, France.



The use of heart rate variability (HRV) in the management of sport training is a practice which tends to spread, especially in order to prevent the occurrence of fatigue states.


To estimate the HRV parameters obtained using a heart rate recording, according to different exercise impacts, and to make the link with the appearance of subjective fatigue.


Ten senior runners, aged 51±5 years, were each monitored over a period of 12 weeks in different conditions: (i) after a resting period, (ii) after a day with training, (iii) after a day of competition and (iv) after a rest day. They also completed three questionnaires, to assess fatigue (SFMS), profile of mood states (POMS) and quality of sleep.


The HRV indices (heart rate, LF (n.u.), HF (n.u.) and LF/HF) were significantly altered with the competitive impact, shifting toward a sympathetic predominance. After rest and recovery nights, the LF (n.u.) increased significantly with the competitive impact (62.1±15.2 and 66.9±11.6 vs. 76.0±10.7; p<0.05 respectively) whereas the HF (n.u.) decreased significantly (37.9±15.2 and 33.1±11.6 vs. 24.0±10.7; p<0.05 respectively). Positive correlations were found between fatigue and frequency domain indices and between fatigue and training impact.


Autonomic nervous system modulation-fatigue relationships were significant, suggesting the potential use of HRV in follow-up and control of training. Furthermore, the addition of questionnaires constitutes complementary tools that allow to achieve a greater relevance and accuracy of the athletes' fitness and results.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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