Study of cardiac autonomic control and physical fitness in martial artists

Aneesh, Joseph (2013) Study of cardiac autonomic control and physical fitness in martial artists. Masters thesis, Christian Medical College, Vellore.

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Abstract

OBJECTIVES: To study the effect of Kungfu training on cardiac autonomic status and physical fitness by comparing Kungfu trained subjects with control subjects matched for age, BMI and physical activity level. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Twenty Kungfu trained subjects and twenty matched control subjects were rested in supine position for twenty minutes. ECG and respiration data was acquired for five minutes after this, to obtain short-term heart rate variability parameters and other resting parameters. Standard cardiac autonomic tests were done. A maximal treadmill test was done and exercise duration, heart rate at maximal intensity and heart rate during recovery was measured and further analyzed to obtain recovery heart rates and time constants of recovery. All parameters were correlated with duration of Kungfu training. Analysis was done using SPSS software and suitable statistical tests were done. RESULTS: Subjects with Kungfu training had greater total heart rate variability as denoted by greater SDNN similar physical activity levels. This augmented cardiac autonomic control observed in Kungfu subjects may be attributable to the regular practice of ‘breath out maneuvers’, which form an intrinsic part of the exercise protocol of Kungfu training. Kungfu training allowed the subject to do similar quantum of work at a lower heart rate than controls, as evidenced by the lower heart rate in the Kungfu group at similar maximal work intensities reached by both groups. With increased duration of Kungfu training there was significant decrease in the maximal heart rate achieved with maximal exercise and the absolute heart rate at thirty seconds after stopping maximal exercise, in the martial artists his finding may simply be a reflection of the positive effect of longer duration of training on the work capacity and max of martial artists. SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS: Higher physical fitness appears to prolong life. To attain, maintain and improve fitness, one mode of physical activity used is exercise. Exercise consists of planned, structured, and repetitive bodily movement. Martial arts are methods of combat that have been altered into exercises. Kung Fu is a generic term used for Chinese martial arts. Kungfu is a unique which incorporates a mixed anaerobic and aerobic exercise regimen which is combined with breathing exercises and meditation. No studies have been done on the effect of Kung Fu training on cardiac autonomic function. This study looked at the effect of Kungfu training on cardiac autonomic status and physical fitness. The cardiac autonomic effects of endurance and strength training have been studied separately and documented. But there are no studies on combined aerobic and anaerobic training programs on cardiac autonomic status. Further, breathing exercises and meditation have been shown to affect cardiac autonomic status by lowering heart rate, modifying heart rate variability and decreasing blood pressure. Kung Fu involves aerobic and anaerobic training, along with meditation and breathing exercises. There are no studies reporting the combined effects of all these maneuvers on physical fitness and cardiac autonomic control. Twenty Martial artists who have practiced Kungfu for over a year were recruited and compared with twenty normal subjects of similar age, BMI and physical activity. Cardiac autonomic status and fitness level was compared between these groups. The cardiac autonomic function tests administered were heart rate variability analysis, deep breathing test, orthostatic challenge test, Valsalva maneuver and maximal hand grip test. The tests were conducted as per standardized published protocols. Standard indices were calculated from these tests and compared. The resting heart rate, resting blood pressure and rate pressure product were also obtained. This was followed by a maximal treadmill test. A maximal exercise test was used to estimate O2 max indirectly. A fixed ramp protocol was used in a motor driven treadmill to administer a maximal test. Immediately after exercise, the subject rested in the supine position, during the period of recovery. The maximal heart rate achieved with maximal exercise (HRmax) and absolute heart rates at different points of recovery was obtained. The heart rate recovery (HRR) at a given point of time was computed by subtracting the absolute heart rate at that point of time from the HRmax. HRR is an index of physical fitness and a predictor of O2 max. (24) The ratio of H max to resting heart rate and total exercise duration was also used as predictors of O2 max. The work intensity at maximal exercise was also calculated and compared. The recovery heart rate decay was analyzed and it fitted well with double exponential functions. Two time constants were derived. The lower time constant was arbitrarily selected to be the parasympathetic reactivation time constant and the higher one was selected to be the sympathetic withdrawal time constant. These time constants were compared between the two groups. The effect of duration of Kungfu training on the various autonomic parameters was analyzed. Tests revealed significantly increased SDNN and RMSSD parameters of short-term heart rate variability in Kungfu trained subjects showing improved overall autonomic modulations and vagal modulations when compared to controls,. The maximal heart rate reached with maximal exercise was significantly less in Kungfu group. With increased duration of Kungfu training there was significant decrease in the maximal heart rate achieved with maximal exercise and the absolute heart rate thirty seconds after stopping maximal exercise, in the martial artists. This finding may simply be a reflection of the positive effect of longer duration of training on the work capacity and O max of martial artists. Kungfu is a unique form of exercise training which incorporates aerobic exercises, anaerobic exercises, breathing exercises and meditation. Kungfu training improved overall heart rate variability and vagal modulations and allowed the subject to do similar quantum of work at a lower heart rate than controls, as evidenced by the lower heart rate in the Kungfu group at similar maximal work intensities reached by both groups.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Kungfu ; cardiac autonomic control ; physical fitness ; martial arts ; heart rate variability ; maximal treadmill test ; breathing exercise ; meditation ; Time constant ; Recovery heart rate ; maximal heart rate ; breath out maneuver.
Subjects: MEDICAL > Physiology
Depositing User: Subramani R
Date Deposited: 30 Apr 2018 02:54
Last Modified: 30 Apr 2018 02:54
URI: http://repository-tnmgrmu.ac.in/id/eprint/7330

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