The influence of a short-term slow paced breathing intervention on HRV and cognitive performance: Preliminary results

Emma Mosley, Shelley Duncan

    Research output: Published contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


    Slow paced breathing (SPB) interventions require participants to breathe at a particular rate (6 cycles per minute) which stimulates 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 be beneficial for cognitive performance (Thayer, Hansen, Saus-Rose, & Johnsen, 2009). However, there have been limited endeavours to explore the direct effects of a short-term SPB intervention on levels of cardiac vagal activity and subsequent cognitive performance, which forms the aim of the current study. First, participants attended a familiarization session, in which they were introduced to diaphragmatic breathing technique, the breathing rate app and modified flanker task. Participants attended two counterbalanced sessions: a control (audiobook) and intervention (SPB). Upon arrival to the laboratory participants completed a 5 minute seated baseline, in which heart rate variability was collected. Participants then completed the SPB intervention which was administered at a rate of 6 cycles per minute (4.5 second inhale and 5.5 second exhale), and performed for 3 x 5 minutes with a 1 minute break in between. In the control condition participants listened to an audiobook for the same time period of the SPB intervention (17 minutes). After this participants completed the modified flanker task which lasted for 12 minutes, followed by a 5 minute recovery period. Data collection is ongoing and the presentation will discuss preliminary results.
    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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