Functionality profiling versus heart rate variability in polyathlon competitors

PhD, Associate Professor E.V. Markin1
PhD, Associate Professor M.V. Shelkov2
PhD, Associate Professor A.F. Shcherbina2
V.V. Averyasov3
L.G. Kim3
1Orel State Agrarian University named after N.V. Parakhin, Orel
2Murmansk State Technical University, Murmansk
3Plekhanov Russian University of Economics, Moscow

Keywords: heart rate variability, body functionality, polyathlon.

Introduction. Efficiency of the bodily adaptation to physical workloads variable in scopes and intensity is known to largely depend on the cardiovascular system responses and relevant control mechanisms. For this very reason, a heart rate variability analysis has come into common use for assessing the current state and adaptive reserves of the body of athletes, as well as preventing overtraining and overstrain in pre-season. The heart rate variability rates reflects the relationship between different autonomous regulation circuits: an imbalance between the parasympathetic and sympathetic influences, as well as the relationship between the central and autonomous circuits of regulation of cardiac activity are revealed under the influence of psycho-emotional stresses, a breakdown of the adaptive responses, and detraining. A decrease in the heart rate variability is accompanied by a decrease in the regulatory mechanisms tolerance to external loads, both physical and psycho-emotional. An increase in the heart rate variability indicates an increase in the external load tolerance.

Objective of the study was to profile pre-season functionality versus the heart rate variability in polyathlon competitors.

Methods and structure of the study. The trainees were offered equal standard pre-season conditions with the daily regimen strictly controlled by the coaches. The sample functionality was rated by the R.M. Bayevsky Heart Rate Variability Test method. During the study we analyzed the temporal and statistical characteristics of heart rate: variation range; index of tension of regulatory systems; level of adaptation of the body to physical loads; body fitness level; energy supply level; psycho-emotional state; an integrated indicator of "sport form"; index of centralization of heart rate control (degree of prevalence of the central regulation circuit over the autonomic one); vegetative balance index (VBI); vegetative rhythm index (VRI). The results of case monitoring were mathematically processed using descriptive statistics methods (arithmetic mean, error of arithmetic mean, standard deviation). The data differences were rated using the Student’s t-criterion, being statistically significant at the significance level of at least 95% (p<0.05).

Results and discussion. The dynamics of indicators of physical condition of the athletes involved in polyathlon changed significantly in the pre-season (Table 1).

Table 1. Dynamics of indicators of physical condition of polyathletes in pre-season (n=11)

Indicators, %

Prior to training camp

Week 2

Week 4

1. Level of adaptation to physical loads (А)

70±2.9

82±3.7

87±2.3*

2. Body fitness level and functional reserves (В)

78±3.2

89 ±4.1

95±3.2*

3. Energy supply level of the body (С)

69±3.4

85±3.7*

88±3.5*

4. Psycho-emotional state (D)

72±2.9

83±3.3*

89±2.7*

5. Integrated indicator "sport form" (Н)

71±3.6

85±5.7

88±3.4*

Note. * – significant differences are shown relative to the baseline, p<0.05.

The level of adaptation of the body of athletes to physical loads (A) during the 4-week training camp significantly increased from 75 to 87%, which reflects an increase in the body's readiness for competitive activity. At the same time, there was a significant increase in the body fitness level and functional reserves (integrated indicator B) from 78 to 95% (p<0.05). This indicator characterizes the autonomic regulation of heart rate and is calculated based on the heart rate variability rates. An increase or decrease in this indicator testifies to the vegetative balance shift towards sympathicotonia and vagotonia. In our case, the statistical analysis of the heart rate variability rates indicates enhancement of the role of the parasympathetic nervous system in the heart rate control. The peculiarities of the neurohumoral regulation of cardiac activity are expressed in such an integrated indicator as energy supply level (C), which significantly increased on week 2 of the pre-season training cycle, and increased by 15% as compared to the baseline values immediately before the competitions (p<0.05). The integrated indicator "C-level of neurohumoral regulation" characterizes the functioning of the endocrine system and determines if the body uses its energy and physiological resources optimally. The neurohumoral regulation system is responsible for maintaining homeostasis as well as for bodily adaptation to ever-changing living conditions. The integrated indicator "D - dynamic index", reflecting the adaptive capabilities of the central nervous system when preparing for competitions, significantly increased from 72±2.9 to 89±2.7% (p<0.05), which indicates a positive psycho-emotional state, increased overall activity and the absence of any exposure of destructive stressors. In the pre-season training cycle, we observed a significant increase in the complex health indicator (N) referred to as the sport form. During the experiment, this indicator increased from 71±3.6 to 88±3.4% (p<0.05). Thus, the dynamics of the integrated indicators of physical state (A, B, C, D, H) of the  athletes involved in polyathlon, revealed during the training camp, testifies to the adequacy of the training effects and expansion of the adaptive potential of the body before the start. The polyathletes were found to have some statistically significant differences in terms of variation range (max-min) in the pre-season (Table 2).

Table 2. Dynamics of variation range (max-min) indices in highly skilled polyathletes in pre-season (n=11)

HRV indices

Prior to training camp

2nd week

4th week

Variation range (max-min), ms

282±20.4

314±18.5

368±21.3*

Regulatory system stress index (SI), c.u.

87±5.3

53±4.5*

43±4.1*

Index of centralization (IC), c.u.

2.2±0.21

2.0±0.19

1.8±0.16

Vegetative rhythm index (VRI), c.u.

0.45±0.04

0.41±0.05

0.34±0.04

Note. * –  significant differences are shown relative to the baseline, p<0.05.

This indicator reflects the tone of the parasympathetic division of the autonomic nervous system: the higher it is, the stronger the influence of the vagus nerve on heart rate. During the experiment, the variation range value significantly increased from 282±20.4 to 368±21.3 ms (p<0.05). In highly skilled athletes, this indicator ranges on average from 240 to 360 ms and is determined by the duration of the RR interval. The decreased variation range indicates the rigidity of heart rate and predominance of the central regulation circuit. According to the theory of two-circuit heart rate control, it is accompanied by increased centralization of heart rate control, significant energy csts, and a decrease in the functional capabilities of the cardiovascular system.

The regulatory system stress index reflects the activity of the mechanisms of sympathetic regulation, as well as the state of the central regulation circuit. The baseline SI value in the examined athletes equaled 87±5.3 c.u. (Table 2). Two weeks later, during the conditions of training camp, it decreased to 53±4.5 c.u. (p<0.01), and immediately before the competitions was equal to 43±4.1 c.u. (p<0.001).

A significant decrease in the stress index values indicates a decreased role of the sympathetic nervous system and central regulation circuit. At the same time, the importance of the autonomous regulation circuit increases, which resonates with decreased energy costs and increased cardiac activity independent of the structures of the central nervous system.

Another statistical indicator of heart rate– the index of centralization (IC), is closely related to the  regulatory system SI, which characterizes the predominance of the central contour over the autonomous one. Over the 4-week observation during the training camp, there was a tendency towards a decrease in the centralization index from 2.2±0.21 to 1.8±0.16 c.u. (Table 2).

A similar dynamics was noted in terms of the vegetative rhythm index making it possible to determine the vegetative balance in terms of assessing the activity of the autonomous regulation circuit. The higher the activity, i.e. the smaller the vegetative rhythm index value, the more the vegetative balance is shifted towards the predominance of the parasympathetic nervous system.

Conclusions. The competitors’ pre-season physical fitness rating tests showed significant progress in tolerance to physical workloads, physical fitness, energy costs of the physical activity, mental/ emotional controls etc. – that are collectively referred to as the sport form.

Statistical analysis of the heart rate variability data versus the variation (max-min) range, regulatory system stress indices and vegetative balance indices showed a shift of the vegetative balance towards the parasympathetic nervous system with the dominating role of the autonomous cardiac activity control contour.

In the pre-season training cycle, the dynamics of changes in the physical fitness rates of the athletes involved in sambo was characterized by significant progress in tolerance to physical workloads, physical fitness level and functional reserves, energy costs of the physical activity, mental/ emotional controls and a significant increase in the integrated indicator "sport form".

The statistical analysis of the heart rate variability data versus the variation (max-min) range, regulatory system stress indices and vegetative balance indices showed a shift of the vegetative balance towards the parasympathetic nervous system with the dominating role of the autonomous cardiac activity control contour.

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Corresponding author: sportogau57@mail.ru

Abstract

Efficiency of the bodily adaptation to physical workloads variable in scopes and intensities is known to largely depend on the cardiovascular system responses and the relevant control mechanisms. Objective of the study was to profile pre-season functionality versus the heart rate variability in polyathlon competitors. Sampled for the study were the highly-skilled 18-21 year old CMS and MS (n=14) whose functionality were tested prior to and on weeks 2 and 4 of the pre-season training cycle. The trainees were offered the equal standard pre-season conditions with the daily regimes strictly controlled by the coaches. The sample functionality was rated by the R.M. Bayevsky heart rate variability test method. The competitors’ pre-season physical fitness rating tests showed meaningful progress in tolerance to physical workloads, physical fitness, energy costs of the physical activity, mental/ emotional controls etc. – that are collectively referred to as the sport form. Statistical analysis of the heart rate variability data versus the variation (max-min) range, regulatory system stress indices (SI) and the vegetative balance indices showed a shift of the vegetative balance towards the parasympathetic nervous system with the dominating role of the autonomous cardiac activity control contour.