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Kinesiology and Recreation


Karen Dennis

Mentor Department

Kinesiology & Recreation


Alex Wolfe

Co-Mentor Department

Kinesiology & Recreation


Heart rate variability (HRV) had been described as the time interval between heartbeats and has been shown to be an important aspect of overall health. Stress is a phenomenon that influences heart rate variability. During stressful events, the sympathetic nervous system is aroused. Physiologically, stress appears in the form of lowered HRV, with decreased parasympathetic activity, increased sympathetic activity, and increased levels of cortisol. This can be altered through a system of exercises and stress management education referred to here as HRV training. Previous research (Dennis and Wolfe, 2016; Dennis and Wolfe, 2017) has shown that physical activity and exercise intensity has a positive effect on Heart Rate Variability. Further, achievement of moderate intensity physical activity recommendations may have a greater influence on stress then total steps per day (Dennis and Wolfe, 2018).Purpose: The purpose of this study was to continue to investigate the effects of physical activity and other biometric variables on HRV over the course of a semester-long (16-week) course designed around lifestyle education and stress management HRV training.Methods: The subjects for this research were 23 students enrolled in the KNR 113 “Personal Fitness” course. The duration of this study lasted one academic semester (16-weeks). All participating students were assigned a pedometer (New Lifestyles) that was used to track their steps each day. Each student hadphysical fitness and biometric data collected at the beginning and end of each semester, in addition tohaving HRV measurements taken at the beginning and end of each semester. HRV measurements were taken using the HeartMath emWave pro software using an infrared pulse plethysmograph (ppg) ear sensor. Physical activity data was collected each week of the course through self-reported pedometer logs. Lifestyle education and exercise were the primary focus of the curriculum for the class. Weekly assignments given through the HeartMath website were used to educate students on stress management techniques.Results: To Be Determined


Authors: Cara Zinn, Alex Diserio, Ayla Kibler

Heart Rate Variability: A 16-Week Examination of Stress Management Education and Physical Activity On HRV

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