International Journal of Exercise Science 15(2): 103-112, 2022. Caffeine may impact post-exercise heart rate variability (HRV); although, studies have yielded inconsistent findings. We examined the effects of low dose caffeine on post-exercise HRV. Healthy, college-aged adults [n = 18; age: 22.1 ± 2.6 years; BMI: 26.9 ± 4.3 kg/m2; estimated maximal oxygen consumption (VO2max): 45.1 ± 8.3 ml∙kg-1∙min-1] participated in a repeated-measures, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. During the experimental trials, participants were fitted with a heart rate monitor and a mouthpiece with a one-way nonrebreathing valve and then rested for 10 min during baseline HRV and expired gas assessments. Participants chewed either caffeine (~170mg) or placebo gum for 5 min. Following expectoration and a 5 min warmup, participants walked on a treadmill for 20 min at 60% of estimated VO2max and then rested for 30 min. HRV indices were calculated from 10 min measurements during baseline and post-exercise (post 1, 2, and 3). A main effect of treatment was found for standard deviation of RR intervals (SDNN), absolute power of low frequency band (LF), absolute power of high frequency band (HF), and the standard deviation perpendicular to the line-of-identity in Poincaré plot (SD1) (p < 0.05). Further, a trend for higher root mean square of successive RR interval differences (RMSSD) with caffeine was observed (p = 0.066). Post hoc t-tests revealed that post-exercise SDNN, LF, HF, and SD1 were higher with caffeine compared to placebo (p ≤ 0.012). Results demonstrated that low dose caffeine did not delay the recovery of HRV indices reflective of parasympathetic nervous system activity following an acute bout of moderate exercise.
Sargent, Cagney T.; Shahbal, Tareq K.; Carrillo, Andres E.; Amorim, Tania; Edsall, Jason R.; Ryan, Emily J.; and Ryan, Edward J.
"Effects of Low Dose Caffeine on Post-Exercise Heart Rate Variability: A Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Trial,"
International Journal of Exercise Science: Vol. 15
2, Pages 103 - 112.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.wku.edu/ijes/vol15/iss2/1