Physiological and emotional influence on heart rate recovery after submaximal exercise


  • Jennifer Bunn Campbell University, United States
  • John Manor Campbell University, United States
  • Elizabeth Wells Campbell University, United States
  • Brooke Catanzarito Campbell University, United States
  • Brittany Kincer Campbell University, United States
  • L. Chris Eschbach Valencell Inc, United States



Step test, Psychological stress, Sympathetic nervous system, Parasympathetic nervous system


The purpose of this study was to assess the role of cardiovascular fitness and emotional state in heart rate recovery after submaximal exercise. Fifty recreationally active subjects (male n=19, females n= 31) completed the study. Height, weight, body composition, and waist circumference were measured, with current emotional state assessed through completion of the Profile of Mood States questionnaire, followed by the Queen’s College Step Test to estimate maximal oxygen consumption (VO2max). Heart rate recovery was determined by the difference between assessments of peak heart rate during exercise and 1 minute post-exercise. Heart rate recovery was correlated with VO2 max, body composition, body mass index, waist circumference, resting heart rate, peak heart rate and the assessed mood states. A moderate negative correlation was found between heart rate recovery and resting heart rate (r = -.307, p = .032) and was the only variable to show significance. The results of this study disagree with previous literature as only one physiologic variable had a significant relationship with heart rate recovery. This may be because the participants recruited for this study were of at least average fitness and there were no significant signs of psychological stress in study participants at the time of testing. 




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How to Cite

Bunn, J., Manor, J., Wells, E., Catanzarito, B., Kincer, B., & Eschbach, L. C. (2017). Physiological and emotional influence on heart rate recovery after submaximal exercise. Journal of Human Sport and Exercise, 12(2), 349–357.



Sport Medicine, Nutrition & Health