University of Oulu

Tornberg, J., Ikäheimo, T. M., Kiviniemi, A., Pyky, R., Hautala, A., Mäntysaari, M., Jämsä, T., & Korpelainen, R. (2019). Physical activity is associated with cardiac autonomic function in adolescent men. PLOS ONE, 14(9), e0222121.

Physical activity is associated with cardiac autonomic function in adolescent men

Saved in:
Author: Tornberg, Jaakko1,2,3; Ikäheimo, Tiina M.3,4; Kiviniemi, Antti3,5;
Organizations: 1Department of Sports and Exercise Medicine, Oulu Deaconess Institute Foundation, Oulu, Finland
2Center for Life Course Health Research, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
3Medical Research Center Oulu, Oulu University Hospital and University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
4Center for Environmental and Respiratory Health Research, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
5Research Unit of Internal Medicine, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
6Research Unit of Medical Imaging, Physics and Technology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
7Cardiovascular Research Group, Division of Cardiology, Oulu University Hospital, University of Oulu, Finland
8Centre for Military Medicine, the Finnish Defence Forces, Helsinki, Finland
9Diagnostic Radiology, Oulu University Hospital, Oulu, Finland Diagnostic Radiology, Oulu University Hospital, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.7 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Public Library of Science, 2019
Publish Date: 2020-04-09


Introduction: Moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) has been shown to be associated with autonomic regulation of the heart measured with heart rate variability (HRV). Only a limited amount of studies have examined this relationship among adolescents, and the effects of increasing PA on HRV is not well established. The aim of this study was to investigate how overall self-reported PA associates with HRV in a large population of adolescent men.

Methods: The study was part of the Finnish MOPO study consisting of 3629 young men (mean age 18, SD 1 years) enrolled for military call-ups in 2009—2013. Overall PA, including both the intensity and frequency of habitual exercise, was assessed by a questionnaire and the respondents categorized into four groups of PA (low, moderate, high and top). Short-term HRV, physical performance and body composition were measured.

Results: HRV, as indicated by mean ln rMSSD, increased according the PA categories as follows: low (3.65 ms (SD 0.7), p<0.001 vs. other groups), moderate (3.78 ms (0.6) p<0.001), high (3.85 ms (0.6) p<0.001) and top activity (3.93 ms (0.6) p<0.001) According to the multivariable linear regression analysis, a significant positive relationship (β = 0.129, p<0.05) was observed between self-reported PA and ln rMSSD independent of body mass index, waist circumference and fat percentage.

Conclusions: Physical activity was positively associated with cardiac autonomic regulation, in adolescent men. A linear increase in HRV according to PA was observed, suggesting that even slight increments in PA might be beneficial for cardiac autonomic regulation The results emphasize the importance of physical activity in improving cardiac health in young people.

see all

Series: PLoS one
ISSN: 1932-6203
ISSN-E: 1932-6203
ISSN-L: 1932-6203
Volume: 14
Issue: 9
Article number: e0222121
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0222121
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 315 Sport and fitness sciences
Copyright information: © 2019 Tornberg et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.