Enhancing cardiac vagal activity through slow paced breathing: Formula three case study

Emma Mosley, Zoe Wimshurst, Emma Kavangah

    Research output: Published contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


    Slow paced breathing has been shown to have many beneficial effects for the management of stress and coping in both mainstream psychology (i.e. Wells, Outhred, Heathers & Haddon, 2012) and sport psychology (i.e. Paul and Garg 2012). A recent case study utilizing this intervention approach in elite sport resulted in increased subjective feelings of optimal performance during competition (Gross et al., 2017). The mechanisms of slow breathing, when controlled at a particular frequency (6 cycles per minute), stimulate the resonant frequency, a phenomena which couples respiratory and cardiovascular systems (Lehrer 2013). This increases cardiac vagal activity, the activity within the vagus nerve indexed through heart rate variability, which has been shown to have many benefits for adaptation under demand (Thayer, Hansen, Saus-Rose, & Johnsen, 2009; Porges 1992). Which makes slow paced breathing a useful and worthwhile intervention to use with athletes. However, the manner of delivery and specifics of these interventions at a case study level is somewhat limited within elite sport. The current case study covers the discovery of breathing rate in line with the resonant frequency, the period of breathing training and testing the ability to breathe at the set rate. Furthermore, the application of the intervention within sport specific scenarios is discussed along with practical ideas for the implementation of slow paced breathing with athletes. The case study concludes with results from both objective and subjective accounts from the athlete.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 2019
    Event15th European Congress for Sport Psychology (FEPSAC) - Munster, Germany
    Duration: 15 Jul 201920 Sept 2019


    Conference15th European Congress for Sport Psychology (FEPSAC)


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