Heart-rate variability and precompetitive anxiety in swimmers

Julio César Cervantes Blásquez, Gil Rodas Font, Lluís Capdevila Ortís

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92 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of this study was to test the utility of heart-rate variability (HRV) analyses as a noninvasive means of quantifying cardiac autonomic regulation during precompetitive anxiety situations in swimmers. Psychophysiological state evaluation of 10 volunteer "master" swimmers (6 women and 4 men) was obtained by comparing baseline training condition (TC) with competition condition (CC). Self-evaluation of precompetitive somatic anxiety measured by CSAI-2 showed significant increase from the TC to CC. Analysis showed that during higher precompetitive anxiety level, a significant reduction in the timing (RMSSD), frequency (HFms 2 and HFnu) and Poincaré plot (SD1) of heart-rate variability was observed, and a significant increase in the low frequency to high frequency ratio (LF/HF %). The results indicate a shift towards sympathetic predominance as a result of parasympathetic withdrawal. Our results provide an HRV analysis in a valid, useful and non-invasive way to evaluate the change of sympathovagal balance in presence of precompetitive stress. Copyright © 2009 Psicothema.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)531-536
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 16 Nov 2009


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