Open Access Research article

Effects of an isotonic beverage on autonomic regulation during and after exercise

Isadora Lessa Moreno124*, Carlos Marcelo Pastre2, Celso Ferreira1, Luiz Carlos de Abreu3, Vitor Engrácia Valenti3 and Luiz Carlos Marques Vanderlei2

Author Affiliations

1 UNIFESP - Federal University of São Paulo, Department of Medicine, Cardiology Division, São Paulo, SP, Brazil

2 UNESP – State University Paulista, Department of Physical Therapy. Presidente Prudente, Paulista, SP, Brazil

3 Laboratory of Scientific Writing, School of Medicine of ABC, Santo André, SP, Brazil

4 Departamento de Medicina, Disciplina de Cardiologia, Universidade Federal de São Paulo (UNIFESP), Rua Napoleão de Barros, 715 Térreo, 04039-032, São Paulo, SP, Brazil

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Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 2013, 10:2  doi:10.1186/1550-2783-10-2

Published: 4 January 2013



With prolonged physical activity, it is important to maintain adequate fluid balance. The impact of consuming isotonic drinks during and after exercise on the autonomic regulation of cardiac function is unclear. This study aimed to analyze the effects of consuming an isotonic drink on heart rate variability (HRV) during and after prolonged exercise.


Thirty-one young males (21.55 ± 1.89 yr) performed three different protocols (48 h interval between each stage): I) maximal exercise test to determine the load for the protocols; II) Control protocol (CP) and; III). Experimental protocol (EP). The protocols consisted of 10 min at rest with the subject in the supine position, 90 min of treadmill exercise (60% of VO2 peak) and 60 min of rest placed in the dorsal decubitus position. No rehydration beverage consumption was allowed during CP. During EP, however, the subjects were given an isotonic solution (Gatorade, Brazil) containing carbohydrate (30 g), sodium (225 mg), chloride (210 mg) and potassium (60 mg) per 500 ml of the drink. For analysis of HRV data, time and frequency domain indices were investigated. HRV was recorded at rest (5–10 min), during exercise (25–30 min, 55–60 min and 85–90 min) and post-exercise (5–10 min, 15–20 min, 25–30 min, 40–45 min and 55–60 min).


Regardless of hydration, alterations in the SNS and PSNS were observed, revealing an increase in the former and a decrease in the latter. Hydrating with isotonic solution during recovery induced significant changes in cardiac autonomic modulation, promoting faster recovery of linear HRV indices.


Hydration with isotonic solution did not significantly influence HRV during exercise; however, after exercise it promoted faster recovery of linear indices.

Exercise; Rehydration solutions; Autonomic nervous system