Association between aerobic fitness and indices of autonomic regulation: Cardiovascular risk implications

Roberto Sala, Mara Malacarne, Massimo Pagani, Daniela Lucini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: In the general population higher levels of exercise capacity seem to protect the cardiovascular system with effects well beyond traditional risk factors. We hypothesize that this phenomenon, called "risk factor gap", could be ascribed to functional components, such as autonomic adaptation to aerobic training. METHODS: In 257 subjects (age 36.2±0.8 years) we measured VO2peak (incremental cycling exercise), together with arterial pressure and autonomic proxies (baroreflex gain, R-R variance and standing induced increase in marker of excitatory oscillatory regulation of the SA node, ALFRRnu). RESULTS: Autonomic proxies appeared significantly correlated with indicators of aerobic fitness (age and gender corrected correlation between VO2peak, baroreflex gain: 7=0.277, P2peak (poor, medium and good). Autonomic indices and arterial pressure appeared significantly ordered with categories of VO2peak (P

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)794-801
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2016


  • Autonomic nervous system
  • Baroreflex
  • Heart rate
  • Physical exercise
  • Prevention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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