HYPOTHESIS: The hypothesis for the study was that exercise and custom made orthotics have a positive impact on the heart rate variability and blood pressure. The null hypothesis was that exercise and custom-made flexible orthotics would not induce positive changes in HRV and blood pressure during the study period.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: This study was reviewed and approved by the Institutional Review Board of Logan College of Chiropractic. All subjects were randomized into control and experimental group by a randomization table. Both groups had the same exercise program and only the experimental group wore custom-made flexible orthotics. The exercise effects were compared before and after the training. Each subject must be a Ping Pong club member for the last five years and be an active member in the club. The subject must also play no less than twice a week or no less than 6 hours a week. Heart rate variability was measured using Biocom¡¦s Heart Rhythm Scanner for HRV data collection. Blood pressure was determined by using Biopac blood pressure measurement equipment. Foot Leveler¡¦s custom-made flexible orthotics was factory-fitted to tennis shoes for the study. The study lasted five months with one data collection per month except the fourth month. The baseline HRV and BP were recorded before the warm up period. When one player had played with two other players in a non-stop fashion, the data were collected again imediately after the second game. No rest was allowed for this data collection in order to detect the peak heart rate and blood pressure changes. The third data collection of HRV and BP was at the end of the playing period.
RESULTS: Thirteen Ping Pong players (10 male, 6 in the experimental group, 3 dropped out) were recruited from a local sports club. They agreed to participate in the study without compensation. The average age of the participants was 44 „b16 years old. The blood pressure in the experimental group was significantly decreased after the five months study period. Significant blood pressure decrease was observed in the experimental group before, during and after each exercise session. The blood pressure did not change significantly in each exercise session in the control group. The heart rate was significantly increased immediately after exercise and remained at higher level after the 20 minutes rest at the end of each day¡¦s exercise session. The average resting heart rate (baseline HR before each data collection) was decreased from 69.7„b1.708 to 66.8„b4.480 (p<0.05) in the experimental group but increased from 69.7„b1.708 to 90.7„b2.808 (p>0.05) in the control group. The total power reflecting the total autonomic activity was significantly decreased immediately after exercise and after the 20 minutes rest period at the end of the exercise session in both the control and experimental groups.
CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrated potential benefit of combing exercise with orthotics to improve cardiovascular health in recreational athletes.
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