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It has been shown that water intake (WI) improves postexercise parasympathetic recovery after moderateintensity exercise session. However, the potential cardiovascular benefit promoted by WI has not been investigated after high-intensity exercise.


To assess the effects of WI on post high-intensity parasympathetic recovery.


Twelve recreationally active young men participated in the study (22 ± 1.4 years, 24.1 ± 1.6 kg.m−2). The experimental protocol consisted of two visits to the laboratory. Each visit consisted in the completion of a 30-min high-intensity [~80% of maximal heart rate (HR)] cycle ergometer aerobic session performing randomly the WI or control (CON, no water consumption) intervention at the end of the exercise. HR and RR intervals (RRi) were continuously recorded by a heart rate monitor before, during and after the exercise. Differences in HR recovery [e.g., absolute heart rate decrement after 1 min of recovery (HRR60s) and time-constant of the first order exponential fitting curve of the HRR (HRRτ)] and in postexercise vagalrelated heart rate variability (HRV) indexes (rMSSD30s, rMSSD, pNN50, SD1 and HF) were calculated and compared for WI and CON.


A similar HR recovery and an increased postexercise HRV [SD1 = 9.4 ± 5.9 vs. 6.0 ± 3.9 millisecond, HF(ln) = 3.6 ± 1.4 vs. 2.4 ± 1.3 millisecond2, for WI and CON, respectively; p < .05] was observed in WI compared with CON.


The results suggest that WI accelerates the postexercise parasympathetic reactivation after high-intensity exercise. Such outcome reveals an important cardioprotective effect of WI.

Peçanha, Paula-Ribeiro, Campana-Rezende, Bartels, and de Lima are with the Laboratory of Motor Assessment, Faculty of Physical Education and Sports, Federal University of Juiz de Fora, Minas Gerais, Brazil. Marins is with the Dept. of Physical Education, Federal University of Viçosa, Minas Gerais, Brazil.

Address author correspondence to Tiago Peçanha at