European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 115, Issue 10, pp 2081–2089

The effects of high intensity interval training in women with rheumatic disease: a pilot study

  • Janne Sandstad
  • Dorthe Stensvold
  • Mari Hoff
  • Bjarne M. Nes
  • Ingerid Arbo
  • Anja Bye
Original Article

Abstract

Purpose

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) are inflammatory diseases which involve increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). High intensity interval training (HIIT) is known to be effective in improving cardiovascular health. The aim of this study was to investigate whether 10 weeks of HIIT at 85–95 % of HRmax would improve important risk factors of CVD in rheumatic patients, and if these patients would tolerate exercise intensities above today’s recommendations.

Methods

Seven women with RA and eleven with adult-JIA, 20–50 years, were recruited to this cross-over study. Participants performed HIIT, consisting of 4 × 4 min intervals at 85–95 % of HRmax twice a week for 10 weeks on spinning bikes. Maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max), heart rate recovery, blood pressure, body composition, and blood variables were measured before and after the exercise and control period. Disease activity was determined and questionnaire data were collected.

Results

HIIT resulted in 12.2 % increase in VO2max and 2.9 % improvement in heart rate recovery (p < 0.05). BMI, body fat, and waist circumference decreased 1.2, 1.0, and 1.6 %, respectively, whereas muscle mass increased 0.6 % (p < 0.05). A trend toward decreased CRP was detected after HIIT (p = 0.08). No changes were detected in disease activity or pain.

Conclusion

Despite rigorous high intensity exercise, no increase was detected in disease activity or pain, indicating that HIIT was well tolerated by these patients. Furthermore, HIIT had positive effects on several CVD risk factors. In light of this pilot study, HIIT seems like a promising non-pharmacological treatment strategy for patients with RA and adult-JIA.

Keywords

Rheumatology Exercise Cardiovascular diseases 

Abbreviations

BMI

Body mass index

CVD

Cardiovascular disease

COMP

Cartilage oligomeric matrix protein

CAD

Coronary artery diseases

CRP

C-reactive protein

HIIT

High intensity interval training

HDL

High-density lipoprotein

IGF-1

Insulin-like growth factor

JIA

Juvenile idiopathic arthritis

HRmax

Maximal heart rate

VO2max

Maximal oxygen uptake

1-minHRR

One-minute heart rate recovery

PTX3

Pentraxin 3

RA

Rheumatoid arthritis

SD

Standard deviations

VAS

Visual analog scale

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Janne Sandstad
    • 1
  • Dorthe Stensvold
    • 1
  • Mari Hoff
    • 2
    • 3
  • Bjarne M. Nes
    • 1
  • Ingerid Arbo
    • 1
  • Anja Bye
    • 1
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of Circulation and Medical Imaging, Faculty of Medicine, Medical Technology Research Centre, KG Jebsen Center of Exercise in MedicineNorwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)TrondheimNorway
  2. 2.Department of RheumatologySt. Olavs HospitalTrondheimNorway
  3. 3.Department of Public Health and General PracticeNorwegian University of Science and TechnologyTrondheimNorway
  4. 4.Norwegian Health AssociationOsloNorway
  5. 5.St. Olavs HospitalTrondheimNorway

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