In a recent study, it was discovered that amongst a group of nearly 150 healthy young people, there were significant improvements in their autonomic nervous systems after a period of exercise.
This is what regulates the heart, and with twelve weeks of aerobics, the male participants experienced an enhancement in their heart rate variability.
For the women studied no significant changes were noted at all. Dr Richard Sloan of New York’s Columbia University Medical Centre noted that his study seemed to imply that woman needed to work harder than men in this area.
The theory that regular aerobic exercise could improve the autonomic regulation of the heart has been around for a while. Dr Sloan and his fellow professionals set up the program to put it to the test.
All the subjects, ranged between 20 and 30 years of age, took part in a range of different exercises, from an exercise bike to running.
After 12 weeks of exercise, they returned to their quieter less active lives for four weeks of down time. It was noted that at the end of this period of de-conditioning any improvements had not remained. Reinstating the existing evidence that any exercise should be ongoing without interruptions, to have any long term effect on an individual.
The fact that this research uncovered, interestingly, the advantages of the different type of training and highlighted that, for instance strength training, had little or no effect on the body’s nervous control system. The reasons are yet to be uncovered.