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Effects of self-paced interval and continuous training on health markers in women

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journal contribution
posted on 22.09.2017 by Luke J. Connolly, Stephen Bailey, Peter Krustrup, Jonathan Fulford, Chris Smietanka, Andrew M. Jones
Purpose To compare the effects of self-paced high-intensity interval and continuous cycle training on health markers in premenopausal women. Methods Forty-five inactive females were randomised to a high-intensity interval training (HIIT; n = 15), continuous training (CT; n = 15) or an inactive control (CON; n = 15) group. HIIT performed 5 × 5 min sets comprising repetitions of 30-s low-, 20-s moderate- and 10-s high-intensity cycling with 2 min rest between sets. CT completed 50 min of continuous cycling. Training was completed self-paced, 3 times weekly for 12 weeks. Results Peak oxygen uptake (16 ± 8 and 21 ± 12%), resting heart rate (HR) (−5 ± 9 and −4 ± 7 bpm) and visual and verbal learning improved following HIIT and CT compared to CON (P < 0.05). Total body mass (−0.7 ± 1.4 kg), submaximal walking HR (−3 ± 4 bpm) and verbal memory were enhanced following HIIT (P < 0.05), whereas mental well-being, systolic (−5 ± 6 mmHg) and mean arterial (−3 ± 5 mmHg) blood pressures were improved following CT (P < 0.05). Participants reported similar levels of enjoyment following HIIT and CT, and there were no changes in fasting serum lipids, fasting blood [glucose] or [glucose] during an oral glucose tolerance test following either HIIT or CT (P > 0.05). No outcome variable changed in the CON group (P > 0.05). Conclusions Twelve weeks of self-paced HIIT and CT were similarly effective at improving cardiorespiratory fitness, resting HR and cognitive function in inactive premenopausal women, whereas blood pressure, submaximal HR, well-being and body mass adaptations were training-typespecific. Both training methods improved established health markers, but the adaptations to HIIT were evoked for a lower time commitment.



  • Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences

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European Journal of Applied Physiology


CONNOLLY, L.J. al., 2017. Effects of self-paced interval and continuous training on health markers in women. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 117 (11), pp. 2281–2293.


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