A session of intense exercise can have a negative impact on mood the following morning, a new study has suggested.

A study of cyclists’ activity has highlighted the importance of monitoring training intensity with heart rate tools to reduce the risk of injury, as well as examining how rates of exercise can affect mood.

A team from Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona set out to explore the relationship between training, heart rate variability and mood.

Researcher Carla Alfonso explained: “With this study we aimed to know when an athlete must rest, because their system is saturated, and when an athlete can train, with more or less intensity, because their body is ready to assimilate the training load.”

Central to building fitness is the recovery the body goes through following stress from exercise, which results in it adapting to be able to take greater stress next time. Getting the balance right is key to getting the best performance from athletes while preventing injuries from overtraining.

The researchers used heart rate variability to look at the effect training intensity has on cyclists’ mood and their ability to cope with increased training.

Following the study, the team say that changes in mood and heart rate variability the day after training could be indicative of whether a person’s exercise session has been too intense.

Easily find out your target heart rate and maximum heart rate using our calculator.

Professor Lluís Capdevila commented that the findings could pave the way in “setting up a monitoring system which takes into account both internal and external training loads, in addition to mood state and heart rate variability of the athlete, with the aim of helping them adapt to their training and prevent injuries that may come with overtraining.” Read the study here.

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