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Effects of Exercise on the Resting Heart Rate: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Interventional Studies

Faculty of Behavioral and Social Sciences, Institute of Human Movement Science and Health, Technical University of Chemnitz, Straße der Nationen 62, D-09111 Chemnitz, Germany
Department of Statistics, TU Dortmund University, Vogelpothsweg 87, D-44227 Dortmund, Germany
Paracelsus-Klinik Bremen, In der Vahr 65, D-28329 Bremen, Germany
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
J. Clin. Med. 2018, 7(12), 503;
Received: 8 November 2018 / Revised: 23 November 2018 / Accepted: 27 November 2018 / Published: 1 December 2018
(This article belongs to the Section Epidemiology & Public Health)
PDF [570 KB, uploaded 1 December 2018]


Resting heart rate (RHR) is positively related with mortality. Regular exercise causes a reduction in RHR. The aim of the systematic review was to assess whether regular exercise or sports have an impact on the RHR in healthy subjects by taking different types of sports into account. A systematic literature research was conducted in six databases for the identification of controlled trials dealing with the effects of exercise or sports on the RHR in healthy subjects was performed. The studies were summarized by meta-analyses. The literature search analyzed 191 studies presenting 215 samples fitting the eligibility criteria. 121 trials examined the effects of endurance training, 43 strength training, 15 combined endurance and strength training, 5 additional school sport programs. 21 yoga, 5 tai chi, 3 qigong, and 2 unspecified types of sports. All types of sports decreased the RHR. However, only endurance training and yoga significantly decreased the RHR in both sexes. The exercise-induced decreases of RHR were positively related with the pre-interventional RHR and negatively with the average age of the participants. From this, we can conclude that exercise—especially endurance training and yoga—decreases RHR. This effect may contribute to a reduction in all-cause mortality due to regular exercise or sports. View Full-Text
Keywords: sports; physical activity; trail; cardiovascular health; PRISMA sports; physical activity; trail; cardiovascular health; PRISMA

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Reimers, A.K.; Knapp, G.; Reimers, C.-D. Effects of Exercise on the Resting Heart Rate: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Interventional Studies. J. Clin. Med. 2018, 7, 503.

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