Heart rate and blood pressure changes with endurance training: the HERITAGE Family Study

  • Wilmore J
  • Stanforth P
  • Gagnon J
 et al. 
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PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to determine the magnitude of change in resting and exercise heart rate (HR) and blood pressure (BP), by race, sex, and age, after a 20-wk endurance training program in 507 healthy and previously sedentary subjects from the HERITAGE Family Study. METHODS: After baseline measurements, subjects exercised on cycle ergometers 3 d x wk(-1) for a total of 60 exercise sessions starting at 55% of VO2max for 30 min x session(-1) and building to 75% of VO2max for 50 min x session(-1) for the last 6 wk. HR and BP at rest and during exercise (50 W, 60% of VO2max maximal exercise) were each determined in duplicate on two different days both before and after training (resting values at 24-h and 72-h posttraining). RESULTS: After the period of training, there was a small decrease in resting HR (-2.7 to -4.6 beats x min(-1) across groups at 72-h posttraining), and small changes (i.e., < 3 mm Hg) in resting systolic (SBP), diastolic (DBP), and calculated mean BP (MBP), which varied by race, sex, and age. During exercise at the same absolute work rate (50 W), HR, SBP, DBP, and MBP were all significantly reduced, with greater reductions in HR in women compared with men, and greater reductions in BP in blacks and older subjects compared with whites and younger subjects, respectively. At the same relative work rate (60% VO2max), HR, DBP, and MBP were reduced, but SBP remained unchanged. Blacks had a greater reduction in DBP, but whites had a greater reduction in HR. Finally, at maximal exercise, there was a small decrease in HR, with men and whites decreasing more than women and blacks; an 8 mm Hg increase in SBP, with men increasing more than women; a 4 mm Hg decrease in DBP, with blacks decreasing more than whites; and no change in MBP. CONCLUSION: In conclusion, the reductions in resting HR and BP with training were generally small, but the reductions during exercise were substantial and clinically important, with the older and the black populations experiencing greater reductions.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Blood Pressure/physiology
  • Exercise/physiology
  • Family
  • Female
  • Heart Rate/physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Physical Endurance/physiology

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  • J H Wilmore

  • P R Stanforth

  • J Gagnon

  • T Rice

  • S Mandel

  • A S Leon

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