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Effect of Heart Rate on Arterial Stiffness


This report investigates the associations between physical activity and heart rate and the effect of positive reinforcement on stimulus perception time. The laboratory tests consisted of two sections. The first tested the hypothesis of a positive relationship between single-leg jumps performed to the professor’s count (stimulus) and heart rate. The second section revealed patterns in the rate of perception of positive (clapping) or negative (booing) stimuli for four individuals. The results of this report confirmed the stated hypotheses and showed consistency with the selected research papers. Thus, the report is a valuable synthesis of biomedical and cognitive findings in the context of conditioned reinforcement.

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The basis of many biomedical studies is an in-depth study of the heart, one of the most crucial human body muscles. Confirming this idea, this laboratory work’s object was chosen the patterns of heartbeat associated with physical activity. For instance, it is widely known that exercise performance and overall body exertion have a positive short-term effect on increasing heart rate (Nouraei & Rabkin, 2019). In response to the need for more frequent skeletal muscle contraction, the body requires a massive supply of oxygen transported throughout all tissues and organs through the bloodstream. Consequently, there is an immediate increase in the frequency of respiratory movements during physical activity, accompanied by an intensification of cardiac muscle contractions. Due to the heart’s inaccessibility, localized inside the thorax behind the ribs, direct measurement is impossible. Nevertheless, the human organism reveals the regularity, according to which the frequency of jerky oscillations of arterial walls directly characterizes cardiac contractions. Thus, the heart rate measurement turns out to be possible through the indirect measurement of heart rate (Tan et al., 2018). Based on the above facts, it is appropriate to state that physical activity should briefly increase heart rate values, which is caused by the intensification of the distribution of dissolved oxygen in the blood.

This laboratory test’s central theme was the use of conditioned reinforcement effects, consisting of the demonstration of a stimulus and a response. Specifically, the first part of the laboratory test consisted of measuring heart rate patterns at allotted times associated with physical activity’s prior performance through hopping on one leg. The second part focused on measuring response time when the participant was given a positive or negative stimulus. These effects were used in processing the data in this laboratory report. It is necessary to postulate working hypotheses stating that physical activity realized through a series of consecutive jumps positively affects a heart rate increase in the short term. In addition, the time it takes individuals to respond to reinforcement or punishment is unique and depends on a variety of factors. The purpose of this report is to examine and critically analyze the data supporting or refuting this hypothesis.


Because the calculation took place by directly measuring the number of heart rate beats for one minute, recorded using the online stopwatch, it was critical to use only right-handed individuals to minimize bias. A sample of sixteen graduate students from the University of North Florida was formed for the study. The examination took place on the University’s premises, specifically Social Science Building 51. Any demographic information was collected by having participants fill out an online form and collected on the university computer. The sample was represented by 11 females and 5 males with 15 to 40 years. Thus, the average demographic portrait of the subject was 23.5 years old (SD = 8.5). Data analysis was conducted for only one of the participants, namely, the author of this study. Specifically, the subject was a 23-year-old female of African-American descent in excellent health with no history of heart or concentration problems.

The first part of the experiment involved self-measurement of heart rate through a post-facto heart rate after performing a series of physical activities. The procedure consisted of baseline measurement of the individual’s heart rate while at rest. This was followed by a series of jumps on one leg after 30 seconds after each professor’s count. As the physical activity was performed, a second pulse measurement was taken, and the value was recorded in a data table. This procedure was repeated five times until five different pulse values were collected, after which the individual rested for a few minutes, and his pulse was measured again. The second part of the test was the measurement of the response time for the stimulus demonstration. More specifically, four people (including the author) were randomly selected out of sixteen to touch their heads when a positive stimulus (clapping) or a negative stimulus (booing) was presented.


For the convenience of data perception, all results of direct heart rate measurements for all participants were summarized in the total Table 1. Simultaneously, the line in which the relevant data for the study’s author is localized is highlighted in green. Thus, subsequent data processing was performed for this particular set of measurements. Table 2 describes the given data’s averages, showing the value of the calculated SD and SE. In particular, averages are given for individual measurements in the categories of rest, physical activity, and completely. This data can be expressed in a visually more accessible form, namely the bar graph shown in Figure 1. For the second part of the laboratory conditioning trials, Table 3 was created for the four participants whose time in response to a positive stimulus was recorded. The visualization of the data is shown in Figure 2.

# Resting HR – Base Hopping Pulse 1 (bpm) Hopping Pulse 2 (bpm) Hopping Pulse 3 (bpm) Hopping Pulse 4 (bpm) Hopping Pulse 5 (bpm) Resting HR – Final (bpm)
1 66 98 100 96 100 106 82
2 50 60 94 100 112 120 80
3 88 124 114 118 118 120 94
4 66 110 102 98 106 112 82
5 84 108 110 104 102 104 96
6 86 110 116 112 118 132 98
7 90 120 148 136 140 140 120
8 66 80 90 96 100 104 80
9 74 94 98 118 124 134 82
10 78 100 104 118 112 110 86
11 90 120 124 130 122 118 94
12 86 100 108 108 112 114 96
13 80 90 96 116 118 128 92
14 70 100 108 108 122 124 86
15 74 80 104 104 108 114 90

Table 1. Primary data on heart rate measurements as a function of rest and physical activity.

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# Mean Resting HR (bpm) Mean Hopping HR (bpm) Mean total (bpm) SD SE
9 78 113.6 103 22.4 8.5

Table 2. Averaged data for individual measurements with calculated SD and SE.

Bar chart for heart rate measurements of a selected female participant
Figure 1. Bar chart for heart rate measurements of a selected female participant, showing data for two rest episodes and averaged for a series associated with physical activity.
# Reinforcement Mean SD SE
1 70 160 144.5 72.2
2 360
3 170
4 40
# Punishment Mean SD SE
1 360 299.5 121 60.5
2 360
3 118
4 360

Table 3. Time measurement data for reinforcement and punishment with calculated SD and SE.

Bar graphs for measurements of response times for reinforcement (green) and punishment (red)
Figure 2. Bar graphs for measurements of response times for reinforcement (green) and punishment (red).


This laboratory examination investigated the validity of the working hypothesis of a positive relationship between conducting a series of physical activities and heart rate. Among a sample of sixteen students in a Social Science class at the University of North Florida, one individual — the author of this study — was selected whose heart rate measurement data were processed. Specifically, the entire test procedure can be roughly divided into three phases: before activity, during, and after that. According to this differentiation of the procedure, the results of direct heart rate measurements are presented in Figure 1. Even a cursory analysis of the diagram makes it clear that heart rate values increased with exercise, with an average increase of 154%. In addition, immediately after completing the exercise, the body, as expected, tended to restore the habitual heart rhythm, which can be seen by the decrease in heart rate to the mark of 82 bpm. The data obtained are in good agreement with the stated hypothesis, and thus, the positive relationship between physical activity and heart rate is confirmed.

In addition, the time taken to respond to a stimulus was measured for a random sample of four students. Thus, an analysis of Figure 2 reveals several intriguing patterns. First of all, the time required for each student to respond is unique, and some participants required more resources to comprehend the stimulus. This fits well with research that habitual human behaviors are directly associated with the external environment and internal factors, so it is legitimate to expect that the same exercises will affect response differently from different individuals (Kurz et al., 2015). In addition, Kurz et al. have shown that overlapping two conflicting behavior patterns can cancel out the weaker of the two. In the context of the study, this can be confirmed as a delayed response to an unaccustomed punishment. In addition, it is clear that the response time with reinforcement was significantly lower than with punishment for two of the four subjects. Such findings are generally consistent with the claim that Time Hooping reinforcement positively affects accelerating cognitive learning (Kormushev et al., 2011). It follows that reinforcement can be used to accelerate an individual’s response to a proposed stimulus.

To summarize the study, it should be clarified that this work confirmed the two hypotheses about the positive relationship between physical activity and heart rate and the effect of reinforcement on the speed of perception of the stimulus. The report is a valuable summary of scientific evidence that has been confirmed in practical implementation. Some limitations included the comparatively small sample size, data processing from only one participant, and little automation of the processes. Thus, future research is proposed to cover these weaknesses. In addition, future trials may focus on examining patterns of association between exercise and heart rate and determining which reinforcements are most effective.


Kormushev, P., Nomoto, K., Dong, F., & Hirota, K. (2011). Time hopping technique for faster reinforcement learning in simulations. Cybernetics and Information Technologies, 11(3), 42-59.

Kurz, T., Gardner, B., Verplanken, B., & Abraham, C. (2015). Habitual behaviors or patterns of practice? Explaining and changing repetitive climate‐relevant actions. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change, 6(1), 113-128.

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Nouraei, H., & Rabkin, S. W. (2019). The effect of exercise on the ECG criteria for early repolarization pattern. Journal of Electrocardiology, 55, 59-64.

Tan, I., Butlin, M., Spronck, B., Xiao, H., & Avolio, A. (2018). Effect of heart rate on arterial stiffness as assessed by pulse wave velocity. Current Hypertension Reviews, 14(2), 107-122.

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