Document Type


Publication Date



European journal of applied physiology

URL with Digital Object Identifier


Early in the twentieth century, Walter B. Cannon (1871-1945) introduced his overarching hypothesis of "homeostasis" (Cannon 1932)-the ability to sustain physiological values within a narrow range necessary for life during periods of stress. Physical exercise represents a stress in which motor, respiratory and cardiovascular systems must be integrated across a range of metabolic stress to match oxygen delivery to oxygen need at the cellular level, together with appropriate thermoregulatory control, blood pressure adjustments and energy provision. Of these, blood pressure regulation is a complex but controlled variable, being the function of cardiac output and vascular resistance (or conductance). Key in understanding blood pressure control during exercise is the coordinating role of the autonomic nervous system. A long history outlines the development of these concepts and how they are integrated within the exercise context. This review focuses on the renaissance observations and thinking generated in the first three decades of the twentieth century that opened the doorway to new concepts of inquiry in cardiovascular regulation during exercise. The concepts addressed here include the following: (1) exercise and blood pressure, (2) central command, (3) neurovascular transduction with emphasis on the sympathetic nerve activity and the vascular end organ response, and (4) tonic neurovascular integration.

Available for download on Wednesday, March 05, 2025

Find in your library

Included in

Kinesiology Commons