Mortality, cardiac vagal control and physical training--what's the link?

Ashesh Buch, John Coote, Jonathan Townend

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

115 Citations (Scopus)


There is little doubt that regular exercise results in increases in life expectancy and protects against adverse cardiac events in both healthy subjects and patients with cardiovascular disease. The mechanism of action of physical training remains unclear but a variety of evidence points towards an enhancement in cardiac vagal activity protecting against lethal arrhythmias. Just how physical training increases cardiac vagal activity is an area that is ill understood but plausible mechanisms include mediation via angiotensin II or NO. Further research is needed in this area. Exercise training is demanding and difficult, particularly for patients with cardiac disease. If the mechanism of increase in cardiac vagal activity with training can be determined it may be possible to use pharmacological approaches to mimic the effects of exercise with potentially beneficial effects.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)423-435
Number of pages13
JournalExperimental Physiology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2002


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