BACKGROUND: This study examined the effects of regulated and controlled supramaximal high-intensity interval training (HIT) adapted for older adults, compared to moderate-intensity training (MIT), on cardiorespiratory fitness; cognitive, cardiovascular, and muscular function; and quality of life.
METHODS: Sixty-eight nonexercising older adults (66-79 years, 44% males) were randomized to 3 months of twice-weekly HIT (20-minute session including 10 × 6-second intervals) or MIT (40-minute session including 3 × 8-minute intervals) on stationary bicycles in an ordinary gym setting. Individualized target intensity was watt controlled with a standardized pedaling cadence and individual adjustment of the resistance load. Primary outcomes were cardiorespiratory fitness (V̇o2peak) and global cognitive function (unit-weighted composite).
RESULTS: V̇o2peak increased significantly (mean 1.38 mL/kg/min, 95% CI [0.77, 1.98]), with no between-group difference (mean difference 0.05 [-1.17, 1.25]). Global cognition did not improve (0.02 [-0.05, 0.09]), nor differed between groups (0.11 [-0.03, 0.24]). Significant between-group differences in change were observed for working memory (0.32 [0.01, 0.64]), and maximal isometric knee extensor muscle strength (0.07 N·m/kg [0.003, 0.137]), both in favor of HIT. Irrespective of the group, there was a negative change in episodic memory (-0.15 [-0.28, -0.02]), a positive change in visuospatial ability (0.26 [0.08, 0.44]), and a decrease in systolic (-2.09 mmHg [-3.54, -0.64]) and diastolic (-1.27 mmHg [-2.31, -0.25]) blood pressure.
CONCLUSIONS: In nonexercising older adults, 3 months of watt-controlled supramaximal HIT improved cardiorespiratory fitness and cardiovascular function to a similar extent as MIT, despite half the training time. In favor of HIT, there was an improvement in muscular function and a potential domain-specific effect on working memory.
CLINICAL TRIAL REGISTRATION: NCT03765385.
|Journal||The journals of gerontology. Series A, Biological sciences and medical sciences|
|Publication status||E-pub ahead of print - 28 Mar 2023|