Investigating cardiolocomotor synchronization during running in trained and untrained males

Introduction This study aims at investigating the coupling of the cardiac and locomotor systems during running in trained and untrained males. Methods Sixteen healthy young males subjects were submitted to an anthropometric evaluation, followed by a treadmill test at 70% to 75% of heart rate reserve. Based on the average velocity, they were divided into two groups of eight, trained group (TG) and untrained group (UT). The electrocardiogram and the electromyogram of the vastus lateralis muscle of the right thigh were digitized at a sampling rate of 1000 Hz, and processed off-line. Each cardiac and electromyographic cycle was detected to further investigate the coupling between cardiac and running rates in time domain, using the cross-correlation, and in the frequency domain, using a phase synchronization measure based on the Hilbert transform. A Shannon entropy index and magnitude squared coherence were also applied to improve analysis. Results Both groups presented low cross-correlation (0.18 ± 0.07 TG and 0.15 ± 0.08 UG) values between these signals, and only four from 16 subjects presented short epochs of phase synchronization (4.1 ± 8.6% TG and 3.2±7.3% UG) between signals, occurring at a low frequency band and random phase differences. The low to moderate coherence (0.67 ± 0.16 TG and 0.64 ± 0.16 UG) observed at 0.1 Hz appears to be an effect of the simultaneous action of sympathetic system over both cardiac and muscular rhythms. Conclusion The combined results suggest that the chosen exercise protocol was not able to cause cardiolocomotor synchronization.