Improved training response to exercise protocol for women in cardiac rehabilitation

December 07, 2021

1 min read

Disclosures: The authors do not report any relevant financial disclosures.


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An exercise protocol that combined high-intensity interval training and intensive lower-limb resistance training improved training response in women in cardiac rehabilitation compared to standard physical training.

“High-intensity interval training has been found to be more effective in increasing peak VO2 compared to continuing training of moderate intensity “, Sherrie Khadanga, MARYLAND, cardiologist and assistant director of cardiac rehabilitation at the University of Vermont Medical Center in South Burlington, and colleagues wrote in JAMA Cardiology. “However, the benefits of high-intensity interval training for women are unclear, as more studies of high-intensity interval training have included mostly men.”

Exercise equipment
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Researchers recruited 56 women (mean age, 65; all Caucasian) who participated in a community cardiac rehabilitation program from July 2017 to February 2020. Participants were randomly assigned to an exercise protocol consisting of a High-intensity interval training (HIIT) and lower extremity resistance training (n = 29) or standard continuous training of moderate intensity (n = 27) three times per week for 12 weeks.

The primary outcome measure was the difference in peak VO2 move from baseline to week 12.

Researchers reported greater increase in peak VO2 in HIIT training group and lower extremity resistance compared to standard training group (23% vs. 8%; average increase, 0.3 L / min vs. 0.1 L / min; P = .03).

The change in leg strength was greater in those who received HIIT and lower extremity resistance training (mean increase, 15.3 kg versus 6.4 kg; P = .004).

The researchers noted several limitations of the study, including a lack of diversity, a single-center design, and the lack of tracking of activities performed outside of cardiac rehabilitation.

“Our results suggest that, where appropriate, women should perform high-intensity interval training and intensive resistance training to maximize improvements in peak VO.2 during cardiac rehabilitation, ”the researchers wrote.


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Richard V. Johnson