Sport-specific autonomic regulation of heart rate

PhD, Associate Professor L.E. Ignatieva1
PhD Y.V. Kireeva1
Dr.Med., Associate Professor V.P. Vlasova1
1Mordovian State Pedagogical Institute named after M.E. Yevsevyev, Saransk

 

Introduction. Any sports activity involves developing a specific complex of physical qualities determined by the psychophysical aspects of this activity [5]. At the same time, the functional state and adaptive reserves of the body affect its response to physical loads that may be either adequate to or inconsistent with the body’s capabilities. In terms of sports training, it is important to identify and use a functional marker that would reflect the degree of the body’s adaptation to environmental conditions. Such is the autonomic blood circulation index (ABCI), which indicates the early signs of overtension of the regulatory systems and inconsistency of the body's response to physical loads [7]. Any changes in the autonomic status during the training process provide full information on the current state of the regulatory systems, their adaptive and reserve capabilities [6].

A training process is a long-term stressor that activates all the structures of the body, including the most stable ones, in the adaptive response chain. Excessive physical loads and "rising above oneself" during training, when workloads do not correspond to the capabilities of the body, can become a powerful stressor and carry a pronounced negative impact primarily on the cardio-regulatory systems. Therefore, the autonomic dysfunction can be the backdrop to the development of myocardial pathology, as well as may be deemed as one of the manifestations of stress-induces heart diseases [2, 8].

Objective of the study was to profile the sport-specific autonomic regulation of heart rate in different sport disciplines.

Methods and structure of the study. The study was conducted at the Research and Practical Centre of Physical Education and Healthy Lifestyle under FSBEI of Higher Education "MSPI named after M.E. Yevsevyev", Autonomous Educational Institution "Republican Center - SChYSS of the Olympic Reserve of winter sports of the Republic of Mordovia", State Budgetary Establishment of the Republic of Mordovia "L.Ya. Arkayev Arkaev Sports School of the Olympic Reserve for Sports Gymnastics", ChYSS № 1 of the Republic of Mordovia. The research and methodological guidance and research follow-up was carried out by the Research and Practical Centre of Physical Education and Healthy Lifestyle under MSPI [1, 3]. Sampled for the study purposes were the 17-19 year-old athletes (n=193 including 93 males and 40 females).

 

Table 1. Sport-specific sampling distribution

Sports

Number of people

Sports experience, yrs

Total

boys

Girls

Biathlon

17

10

7

6–10

Gymnastics

22

22

4–8, 9–15

Martial arts

25

25

8–12

Team sports

33

33

6–10

Control Group

36

25

11

 

The group of female gymnasts was divided into the following subgroups: 1st – made of the female athletes at the elite sport mastery stage (ESMS) and sport mastery excellence stage (SMES), 2nd – consisted on the female gymnasts at the training stage (TS). The martial arts group included the athletes specializing in Greco-Roman and free-style wrestling, judo, sambo, boxing. The team sports group was made of 10 basketball players, 10 volleyball players, and 13 football players. The control group involved the non-sporting students of the Faculty of Physical Education of MSPI named after M.E. Yevsevyev, including 25 boys and 11 girls.

The autonomic regulation of the cardiovascular system was rated by measuring the dominant tonus in one of the autonomic nervous system departments. This involved the calculation of the autonomic blood circulation index using the formula:

 

ABCI = k*(HR/60-1)2*PP/SP,

 

where ABCI - autonomic blood circulation index; k - empirical dimension coefficient equal to 2s2; HR - heart rate, s-1 (bpm); PP - pulse pressure (mmHg); SP - systolic pressure (mmHg). The correspondence of the autonomic tone to the physiological state of a person was evaluated according to the criteria-based scale of ABCI [4].

Results and discussion. The ABCI analysis results are presented in Fig. 1 and 2. They demonstrate that the most favorable type of autonomic regulation of the cardiac function was observed among the girls. Thus, the bulk of the data obtained during the study are related to eutonia and slightly pronounced sympathico- and vagotonia. This is due to a more precocious puberty and stabilization of the hormonal status in females.

As regards the sport-specific ABCI distribution, it is the state of autonomic regulation close to the functional balance that prevails in the male basketball and volleyball players and female biathletes.

Fig. 1. Autonomic blood circulation index distribution in boys

Fig. 2. Autonomic blood circulation index distribution in girls

 

Table 2. Distribution of degree of activation of autonomic tone among Control Group athletes of different specialization

Kind of sport/

kind of activity

Degree of activation of autonomic tone,

% of the surveyed students

StPS

PS

MPS

SlPS

E

SlPV

MPV

PV

StPV

Control Group ({C}

)

Male students of FPhCS

16

28

12

12

20

12

0

0

0

Experimental Group ({C}

)

Biathlon

0

10

20

30

20

20

0

0

0

Martial arts

8

16

16

32

4

24

0

0

0

Football

23

7.7

7.7

7.7

15.4

7.7

30.8

0

0

Basketball

0

0

0

20

50

30

0

0

0

Volleyball

0

0

0

30

20

0

50

0

0

Control Group (♀)

Female students of FPhCS

0

9.1

18.2

27.3

18.2

18.2

0

9.1

0

Experimental Group (♀)

Biathlon

0

0

0

86

14

0

0

0

0

Gymnastics (ESMS, SMES)

0

0

18.2

36.7

0

27.3

18.2

0

0

Gymnastics (TS)

9.1

0

18.2

45.5

9.1

18.2

0

0

0

where StPS - strongly pronounced sympathicotonia, PS - pronounced sympathicotonia, MPS - moderately pronounced sympathicotonia, SlPS - slightly pronounced sympathicotonia, E - eutonia, SlPV - slightly pronounced vagotonia, MPV - moderately pronounced vagotonia, PV - pronounced vagotonia, StPV - strongly pronounced vagotonia.

 

Based on the data obtained, the favorable type of autonomic regulation was observed in both boys and girls of the Control Group - students of the Faculty of Physical Culture - who were actively engaged in the health-improving physical activity and did not perform any extreme physical loads - 32 and 45.5%, respectively. The rest of the subjects of the Control Group (68% of boys and 54.5% of girls) were found to have tension of the adaptation mechanisms and be prone to sympathicotonia.

The analysis of the degree of activation of the autonomic tone among the athletes of various specializations showed that the sympathetic tone of the autonomic nervous system was prevalent in 60% of male biathletes. As regards the boys engaged in martial arts, 72% of subjects were also found to have the sympathetic tone as a prevalent one. The analysis of the degree of asymmetry of the autonomic tone in the team sports athletes revealed that 46% of football players had sympathicotonia of varying degrees of activation. More favorable types of autonomic regulation in the boys were found among the basketball players (in 20% of cases – slightly pronounced sympathicotonia) and volleyball players (in 30% of cases – slightly pronounced sympathicotonia).

In the girls, the autonomic regulation indicators were more stable and approached the functional balance. It is only gymnastics where we observed a high percentage of female athletes prone to sympathicotonia (55–73%, depending on their sports experience and qualification). We found that among the elite female gymnasts the number of those prone to sympathicotonia was lower.

Conclusion. The study revealed some significant deviations in the autonomic regulation of cardiac activity of young biathletes, athletes engaged in martial arts, football players and female gymnasts. This indicates that the workloads imposed on this contingent during the training sessions were inadequate to the level of their functional state. The use of physical loads that do not correspond to the adaptive capabilities of the body of young athletes may result in injuries or serious disruptions in the bodily functioning. Specific requirements for the autonomic regulation in athletes of these sports and age-specific peculiarities of the cardiovascular system require introducing into practice a monitoring system based on individual autonomic function profiling and these individual characteristics in the training activities of a young athlete.

We observed marked peculiarities of autonomic regulation in the team sports athletes, depending on their specialization. The most favorable situation was observed in the group of basketball and volleyball players, where the majority of representatives were diagnosed with vagotonia. The football players, on the contrary, were found to have some significant deviations in the functional balance of the autonomic regulation. This can be explained by the fact that football is associated with the need to constantly maintain high working capacity and perform maximal-intensity workloads against the background of overall fatigue and stress; it requires high stability of the functional systems working in conjunction. The volatile nature of physical loads in football forces the player to put his anaerobic (oxygen-free) energy potential into action. While basketball and volleyball are based on some simple natural movements - walking, jumping, running, stopping, turning, passing, catching and throwing, as well as dribbling, characterizing the work of moderate intensity.

 

The study was performed with support of the research grant allocated to conduct scientific work in the priority fields for research by the network interaction partner universities (MSPI – SUSHPU). Topic: "Psychophysiological characteristics of individual-typological indicators of physical working capacity of athletes".

 

References

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{C}

8.       

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Corresponding author: ignatjeva.l.e@yandex.ru

 

Abstract

The study was designed to profile the sport-specific autonomic regulation of heart rate in different sport disciplines as the autonomic function profiling tests are still underestimated as indicators of chronic overstress, overtraining and health conditions. Individual specifics of the autonomic regulation are known to directly determine the specific adaptability to the training process, with the autonomic balance shift (eytonya) towards sympathetic effects commonly considered a warning sign. The sympathetic nervous system activation is associated with a growth of the stroke/ minute volumes. Since the autonomic blood circulation index includes an blood pressure function indirectly indicative of the stroke volume variation and heart rate, it may be used as an informative marker of the athlete’s health condition on a sport-specific basis – since the modern sport disciplines are demanding to different psychophysical qualities and abilities that shape up, in their turn, the autonomic regulation of the cardiac function. Sampled for the study purposes were the 17-19 year-old athletes (n=193 including 93 males and 40 females). The autonomic regulation of the cardiovascular system was rated by measuring the dominant tonus in one of the autonomic nervous system departments.