Cardiovascular responses to active and passive cycling movements

A. C L Nobrega, J. W. Williamson, D. B. Friedman, C. G S Araujo, J. H. Mitchell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

94 Scopus citations


Ten healthy subjects were evaluated at rest and at 5 min of unloaded active (AC) and passive (PC) cycling. Passive limb movements were accomplished using a tandem bicycle with a second rider performing the movements. We measured heart rate (HR), mean arterial pressure (MAP), cardiac output (CO), oxygen uptake (VO2), rating of perceived exertion (RPE), and electrical activity (EMG) of lower limbs muscles. Values for stroke volume (SV) and peripheral vascular resistance (PVR) were calculated. EMG, RPE, and VO2 were higher during AC than during PC (P < 0.001). CO increased during both modes of cycling, but during AC it resulted from a HR acceleration (73 ± 2 at rest to 82 ± 2 beats·min-1 at 60 rpm; P < 0.001) with no change in SV whereas during PC, SV increased from rest (65 ± 4 at rest to 71 ± 3 ml at 60 rpm; P = 0.003) along with no change in HR. PVR remained constant during PC, but decreased by 13% during AC (P < 0.001) and MAP increased only during PC (93 ± 2 at rest to 107 ± 2 mm Hg at 60 rpm). These results supports the concept that central command determines the HR response to dynamic exercise. The increase in SV and consequently in MAP during PC was probably due to increased venous return and/or to muscle mechano-receptor-evoked increased myocardial contractility.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)709-714
Number of pages6
JournalMedicine and science in sports and exercise
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1994


  • Blood pressure
  • Central command
  • Exertion
  • Heart rate
  • Human
  • Mechanoreceptors
  • Reflex control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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