Running on treadmillHigh/intensity short/interval training is a type of exercise that stresses the body hard for a very short period of time. In other words, it is hard exercise, but you don't have to spend much time doing it. That you don't have to spend much time exercising appeals to most people, but you may wonder if you can tolerate it. Is it safe to exercise this way if you are not in great shape? The reviewed research should answer that question, but make up your own mind after reading this. It may surprise you that anybody would even try this with people in the shape that they were. The researchers took patients with signs of chronic heart failure and had one group do high/intensity short/interval training, and had another group do the regular continuous aerobic exercise training(Koufaki P et al. 2014). The program lasted for 6 months and the participants were tested for cardiorespiratory fitness at the start and at the end. Peak oxygen uptake, sit to stand and gait speed improved equality in both groups, no difference in results. The researchers concluded that the training adaptations were achieved in the high intensity short interval training group despite a significant reduced time commitment and reduced work volume when compared to continuous aerobic exercise training. There is really no reason to waist time exercising for a long period of time unless you enjoy the exercise itself. The high intensity training was also tolerated well. Maybe it should not be a surprise that people with heart failure can exercise like this. Years ago people were advised not to do any exercise after they had a heart attack, believing exercise would increase their risk for another heart attack. That has been changed because we know better now, that exercise is one of the things that will help prevent heart problems.
Koufaki P1, Mercer TH, George KP, Nolan J. Low-volume high-intensity interval training vs continuous aerobic cycling in patients with chronic heart failure: a pragmatic randomised clinical trial of feasibility and effectiveness. J Rehabil Med. 2014 Apr;46(4):348-56. doi: 10.2340/16501977-1278.
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