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Purpose: The aim of the study was to evaluate the cardiac autonomic modulation after 9 months of martial arts practice in healthy children and adolescents. Method: The study included 59 children and adolescents who were divided into 3 groups: judo, Muay Thai, and control. Heart rate variability was measured by a heart rate monitor, model Polar RS800CX. The intervention occurred twice a week on nonconsecutive days, lasting 60 minutes each session. A 1-way analysis of variance was used to compare participants at baseline. The comparisons between groups at baseline and after the intervention were carried out by a 2-way analysis of variance for repeated measures. Results: After 9 months of intervention, significant increases were observed for root mean square successive differences, with higher values post compared with baseline (19.5%; P = .04). For SD1, an interaction effect was observed, with increased posttraining values compared with baseline (24.1%; P = .04) for the judo group. Qualitative analysis of the Poincaré plot showed greater dispersion of RR intervals, mainly beat to beat, after the judo intervention compared with the baseline. The Muay Thai and control groups presented no improvement. Conclusion: After 9 months of intervention, there were increases in cardiac autonomic modulation of children and adolescents participating in judo training. The practice of martial arts, such as judo, can be encouraged from an early age to improve cardiovascular system functioning, possibly providing protection against cardiovascular problems.
Suetake, Saraiva, da Silva, Bernardo, Gomes, Vanderlei, and Christofaro are with the School of Technology and Sciences, São Paulo State University (UNESP), Presidente Prudente, São Paulo, Brazil. Franchini is with the Sports Department, School of Physical Education and Sports, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil.