Decreased chronotropic drive as an adaptation to chronic exercise: possible mechanisms

D M Bailey, Bruce Davies

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cardiovascular function was determined at rest and during exercise in twenty-eight healthy, elite distance runners. Maximum heart rate was 184 +/- 6 b x min(-1), which was more than one SD lower than the age predicted value (p < 0.001), and an inverse correlation was observed between maximum heart rate and VO2max (r = - 0.82, p < 0.001). The most aerobically trained athlete, a 27 year old male, presented with a maximum heart rate of 139b x min(-1). Echo-cardiac ultrasound revealed unremarkable intra-cardiac dimensions and flow characteristics relative to other endurance-trained athletes. A decreased chronotropic drive may represent a favourable physiological adaptation to endurance exercise which increases cardiovascular efficiency.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)219-21
Number of pages3
JournalBritish Journal of Sports Medicine
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1999


  • Adaptation, Physiological
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Cardiovascular Physiological Phenomena
  • Exercise
  • Heart Rate
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Physical Fitness


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