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Georgia Journal of Science

Article Title

HEART RATE AND ELECTROCARDIOGRAM ACTIVITY IN ATHLETES: PRE-EXERCISE, DURING EXERCISE, AND POST-EXERCISE

Abstract

Heart Rate Variability (HRV) is used to improve training load (rating of perceived exertion) and monitored to determine whether an athlete is adapting to a training program, and to minimize the risk of overreaching, injury, and illness. A healthy heartbeat contains some irregularities. High HRV is an indication of cardiovascular health, recovery and readiness. A number of internal and external factors (age, hormones, physiology and lifestyle) influence HRV. Women typically have a higher HRV than men. The relationship between heart rate (HR) and workload allows a physician to monitor the heart rhythm before and post-exercise. The purpose of this study was to measure and analyze HR and electrocardiogram (ECG) activity in athletes: pre-exercise, during exercise, and post-exercise. Twenty-five athletes from indoor and outdoor sport teams participated. Pre-exercise HR was measured with a hand-held ECG device for 30 seconds before performing their designated position for 10 minutes. A five minute break followed before jogging for five minutes and finally a post-exercise HR measurement followed. A total of 125 ECG’s showing heart rhythm were recorded and analyzed for abnormalities in the PR interval, ST segment, QRS complex and QT interval. Results indicated that indoor sports showed a higher during exercise HR than outdoor sports. Softball: In 75% of athletes, the pre-exercise HR was higher than the post-exercise HR. Women’s volleyball: post-exercise HR was similar to the pre-exercise HR. Men’s volleyball & Women’s soccer: 60% had a higher pre-exercise HR than post-exercise HR. Men’s basketball: post-exercise HR were higher than all the other sports and also equal to or higher than their pre-exercise HR. Men’s soccer: the post-exercise HR was significantly lower than the pre-exercise HR. Conclusions: The higher the workload of the athlete’s position the higher the HR will be during exercise. Athletes are more likely to have bradycardia due to a larger left ventricle (8% of athletes tested had bradycardia). The pre-exercise HR may be higher due to stress, nervousness, and anxiety.

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