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Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise:
BASIC SCIENCES: Original Investigations

Exercise training and autonomic nervous system activity in obese individuals

AMANO, MASARI; KANDA, TOMO; UE, HIDETOSHI; MORITANI, TOSHIO

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Abstract

AMANO, M., T. KANDA, H. UE, and T. MORITANI. Exercise training and autonomic nervous system activity in obese individuals. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc., Vol. 33, No. 8, 2001, pp. 1287–1291.

Purpose: This study was designed to investigate the effects of 12 wk of exercise training on autonomic nervous system (ANS) in 18 obese middle-aged men (N = 9) and women (N = 9) (age: 41.6 ± 1.2 yr; BMI: 27.3 ± 0.4 kg·m−2; %fat: 29.6 ± 1.3%, mean ± SE).

Methods: Each subject participated in an aerobic exercise training at anaerobic threshold (AT), consisting of 30 min/session, 3 times/wk, for 12 consecutive weeks. The ANS activities were assessed by means of power spectral analysis of heart rate variability (HRV) at resting condition before, at 5 wk, and after the exercise program.

Results: The exercise training resulted in a significant decrease in body mass, BMI, and % fat (P < 0.01) but not in lean body mass (P > 0.05) together with a significant increase in the AT V̇O2 (P < 0.01). Our power spectral data indicated that there were significant increases in the low-frequency component associated with the sympathovagal activity (0.03–0.15 Hz, 348.5 ± 66.8 vs 694.7 ± 91.5 ms2, P < 0.01), the high-frequency vagal component (0.15-0.4 Hz, 146.3 ± 30.4 vs 347.7 ± 96.5 ms2, P < 0.05), and the overall autonomic activity as evaluated by total power (0.03-0.4 Hz, 494.8 ± 88.5 vs 1042.4 ± 180.9 ms2, P < 0.01) of HRV after the training.

Conclusions: Twelve weeks of exercise training has significantly improved both the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous activities of the obese individuals with markedly reduced ANS activity, suggesting a possible reversal effect of human ANS functions. These favorable changes may also have an influence on the thermoregulatory control over the obesity.

© 2001 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.

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