Could high intensity interval training be superior in life-style induced cardiovascular disease?

It’s widely known that exercise improves many metabolic factors that improve life-style induced diseases, but is there a superior type of exercise that gives maximal benefit? A 2013 meta-analysis has shown that high-intensity interval training may be more efficacious to decrease cardiometabolic diseases1.

Their 40-minute protocol recommendation for HIIT consists of1:

-Hill climbing on the treadmill or cycling-

10-minute warm up at 60% of your peak heart rate

4-minute interval (85-95% peak heart rate)

3-minute rest

4-minute interval  (85-95% peak heart rate)

3-minute rest

4-minute interval (85-95% peak heart rate)

3-minute rest

4-minute interval  (85-95% peak heart rate)

5-minute cool down at 50% of your peak heart rate.

 

You can calculate your peak heart rate by subtracting your age from 220.

 

There were some really beneficial outcomes that were studied:

  • Reduction in systolic and diastolic blood pressures (10mmHg and 6mmHg, respectively)2
  • Reduction in OxLDL3
  • Increased HDL cholesterol by 25%2,3
  • Reduction in triglycerides and improved fasting glucose3

 

You should always consult your health care practitioner to discuss whether you are healthy enough for high-intensity exercise.

Some suggested contraindications for HIIT training include, but not limited to1:

  • Unstable chest pain
  • Uncompensated heart failure
  • Recent heart attack (under 4 weeks)
  • Complex ventricular arrhythmia or heart block
  • Hypertensive patients with blood pressure >180/110 or is uncontrolled.
  • Heart disease that limits exercise

 

  1. Weston K, Wisløff U, Coombes J. High-intensity interval training in patients with lifestyle-induced cardiometabolic disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis. British Journal of Sports Medicine 2014;48:1227-1234.
  2. Tjonna AE, Lee SJ, Rognmo O, et al. Aerobic interval training versus continuous moderate exercise as a treatment for the metabolic syndrome: a pilot study. Circulation 2008;118:346–54.
  3. Wisløff U, Stoylen A, Loennechen JP, et al. Superior cardiovascular effect of aerobic 
interval training versus moderate continuous training in heart failure patients: a 
randomized study. Circulation 2007;115:3086–94.

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