Cardiovascular response of postmenopausal women to 8 weeks of sprint interval training



Menopause is accompanied by decreased aerobic fitness and increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Sprint interval training (SIT) is a time-efficient intervention for improving cardiovascular function and aerobic fitness of young adults.


To determine the effect of an 8-week SIT program on the cardiovascular function and aerobic fitness of overweight postmenopausal women.


Thirty overweight postmenopausal women were randomized into exercise (n = 15) or control (n = 15) groups. The intervention group completed three SIT sessions a week for 8 weeks. Each session consisted of 20 min of 8-s sprints and 12 s of light pedalling. Participants also completed 8 min of light aerobic cycle exercise, before and after the SIT intervention. Cardiovascular function including heart rate, stroke volume (SV), and diastolic filling time (DFT) was assessed before and after the intervention and during 8 min of light aerobic exercise. Estimated maximal oxygen uptake (\(\dot {V}{{\text{O}}_{2{\text{max}}}}\)) was also assessed.


Resting SV was increased (p = 0.001) from pre- (77.5 ± 17.0 mL) to post-SIT (81.3 ± 17.0 mL), whereas SV during 8 min of light aerobic exercise was increased (p = 0.000), from pre- (97.8 ± 1.6 mL) to post-test (103.5 ± 17.8 mL). Resting DFT was increased, (p = 0.010), at pre- (333.4 ± 94.4 mL) to post-SIT (357.4 ± 88.2 mL), whereas DFT during 8 min of aerobic exercise was increased, (p = 0.000), from pre- (480.1 ± 99.5 mL) to posttest (527.2 ± 123.0 mL). Predicted \(\dot {V}{{\text{O}}_{2{\text{max}}}}\) was increased, (p = 0.016), from pre- (19.5 ± 5.87 mL kg−1 min−1) to post-SIT (21.4 ± 7.02 mL kg−1 min−1).


SIT improved cardiovascular function and aerobic fitness of overweight postmenopausal women after 8 weeks of exercise.

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Fig. 1
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Fig. 3



Analysis of co-variance


Body mass index


Beats per minute


Body surface area


Blood pressure


Cardiac index


Cardiac output


Cardiac output program


Cardiorespiratory fitness


Diastolic filling time




Heart rate


Sprint interval training


Left ventricular


Left ventricular ejection time


Pre-ejection period


Rating of perceived exertion


Revolutions per minute


Stroke index


Steady-state exercise


Stroke volume


Total peripheral resistance


Ventricular emptying rate

\(\dot {V}{{\text{O}}_2}\) :

Oxygen uptake

\(\dot {V}{\text{C}}{{\text{O}}_2}\) :

Carbon dioxide production

\(\dot {V}{{\text{O}}_{2{\text{max}}}}\) :

Maximal oxygen uptake


Ventricular filling time




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We would like to thank Tze Yuen Ho, Vrischika Chabella, Alexandra Gleeson, Georgia Redmayne, Aengus Tran, Susan Li, and Helen Yoo for help with participant exercise training.

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DZ and TJ’s contributions to the manuscript were equal. They shared first authorship. They organized data collection, data and statistical analyses, and contributed to the manuscript development. SB was responsible for the study design and manuscript development. YB organized participant recruitment, the testing timetable, statistical analyses, study design, and manuscript development.

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Correspondence to Yati N. Boutcher.

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None of the authors had a personal or financial conflict of interest. The study received no sources of funding. The results of the study are presented clearly, honestly, and without fabrication, falsification, or inappropriate data manipulation.

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Zhang, D., Janjgava, T., Boutcher, S.H. et al. Cardiovascular response of postmenopausal women to 8 weeks of sprint interval training. Eur J Appl Physiol 119, 981–989 (2019).

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  • Sprint interval training
  • Postmenopausal women
  • Stroke volume
  • Diastolic filling time
  • Aerobic fitness