The cardiovascular system after exercise

Steven A. Romero, Christopher T. Minson, Xjohn R. Halliwill

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

80 Scopus citations


Recovery from exercise refers to the time period between the end of a bout of exercise and the subsequent return to a resting or recovered state. It also refers to specific physiological processes or states occurring after exercise that are distinct from the physiology of either the exercising or the resting states. In this context, recovery of the cardiovascular system after exercise occurs across a period of minutes to hours, during which many characteristics of the system, even how it is controlled, change over time. Some of these changes may be necessary for long-term adaptation to exercise training, yet some can lead to cardiovascular instability during recovery. Furthermore, some of these changes may provide insight into when the cardiovascular system has recovered from prior training and is physiologically ready for additional training stress. This review focuses on the most consistently observed hemodynamic adjustments and the underlying causes that drive cardiovascular recovery and will highlight how they differ following resistance and aerobic exercise. Primary emphasis will be placed on the hypotensive effect of aerobic and resistance exercise and associated mechanisms that have clinical relevance, but if left unchecked, can progress to symptomatic hypotension and syncope. Finally, we focus on the practical application of this information to strategies to maximize the benefits of cardiovascular recovery, or minimize the vulnerabilities of this state. We will explore appropriate field measures, and discuss to what extent these can guide an athlete's training.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)925-932
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Applied Physiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2017


  • Athletic performance
  • Blood flow
  • Blood pressure
  • Heart rate
  • Recovery


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