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PLoS One. 2016 Jan 19;11(1):e0147104. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0147104. eCollection 2016.

Autonomic Recovery Is Delayed in Chinese Compared with Caucasian following Treadmill Exercise.

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Key Laboratory of Adolescent Health Assessment and Exercise Intervention, Ministry of Education, East China Normal University, Shanghai, China.
Exercise and Cardiovascular Research Laboratory, Department of Kinesiology and Community Health, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Illinois, United States of America.
College of Applied Health Sciences, University of Illinois, Chicago, Illinois, United States of America.
Guangzhou Institute of Physical Education, Guangzhou, China.


Caucasian populations have a higher prevalence of cardiovascular disease (CVD) when compared with their Chinese counterparts and CVD is associated with autonomic function. It is unknown whether autonomic function during exercise recovery differs between Caucasians and Chinese. The present study investigated autonomic recovery following an acute bout of treadmill exercise in healthy Caucasians and Chinese. Sixty-two participants (30 Caucasian and 32 Chinese, 50% male) performed an acute bout of treadmill exercise at 70% of heart rate reserve. Heart rate variability (HRV) and baroreflex sensitivity (BRS) were obtained during 5-min epochs at pre-exercise, 30-min, and 60-min post-exercise. HRV was assessed using frequency [natural logarithm of high (LnHF) and low frequency (LnLF) powers, normalized high (nHF) and low frequency (nLF) powers, and LF/HF ratio] and time domains [Root mean square of successive differences (RMSSD), natural logarithm of RMSSD (LnRMSSD) and R-R interval (RRI)]. Spontaneous BRS included both up-up and down-down sequences. At pre-exercise, no group differences were observed for any HR, HRV and BRS parameters. During exercise recovery, significant race-by-time interactions were observed for LnHF, nHF, nLF, LF/HF, LnRMSSD, RRI, HR, and BRS (up-up). The declines in LnHF, nHF, RMSSD, RRI and BRS (up-up) and the increases in LF/HF, nLF and HR were blunted in Chinese when compared to Caucasians from pre-exercise to 30-min to 60-min post-exercise. Chinese exhibited delayed autonomic recovery following an acute bout of treadmill exercise. This delayed autonomic recovery may result from greater sympathetic dominance and extended vagal withdrawal in Chinese.


Chinese Clinical Trial Register ChiCTR-IPR-15006684.

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