Skip to main content

High-intensity intermittent exercise and cardiovascular and autonomic function

Abstract

Objective

The effect of 12 weeks of high-intensity intermittent exercise (HIIE) on cardiac, vascular, and autonomic function of young males was examined.

Methods

Thirty-eight young men with a BMI of 28.7 ± 3.1 kg m−2 and age 24.9 ± 4.3 years were randomly assigned to either an HIIE or control group. The exercise group underwent HIIE three times per week, 20 min per session, for 12 weeks. Aerobic power and a range of cardiac, vascular, and autonomic measures were recorded before and after the exercise intervention.

Results

The exercise, compared to the control group, recorded a significant reduction in heart rate accompanied by an increase in stroke volume. For the exercise group forearm vasodilatory capacity was significantly enhanced, P < 0.05. Arterial stiffness, determined by pulse wave velocity and augmentation index, was also significantly improved, after the 12-week intervention. For the exercise group, heart period variability (low- and high-frequency power) and baroreceptor sensitivity were significantly increased.

Conclusion

High-intensity intermittent exercise induced significant cardiac, vascular, and autonomic improvements after 12 weeks of training.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4

References

  1. Boutcher SH (2011) High-intensity intermittent exercise and fat loss. J Obes. doi:10.1155/2011/868305

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  2. Boutcher Y, Boutcher S (2005) Limb vasodilatory capacity and venous capacitance of trained runners and untrained males. Eur J Appl Physiol 95:83–87

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Boutcher YN, Hopp JP, Boutcher SH (2011) Acute effect of a single bout of aerobic exercise on vascular and baroreflex function of young males with a family history of hypertension. J Hum Hypertens 25:311–319

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  4. Bowman AJ, Clayton RH, Murray A, Reed JW, Subhan MF, Ford GA (1997) Baroreflex function in sedentary and endurance-trained elderly people. Age Ageing 26:289–294

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  5. Clarkson P, Montgomery HE, Mullen MJ, Donald AE, Powe AJ, Bull T, Jubb M, World M, Deanfield JE (1999) Exercise training enhances endothelial function in young men. J Am Coll Cardiol 33:1379–1385

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  6. Convertino VA (1991) Blood volume: its adaptation to endurance training. Med Sci Sports Exerc 23:1338–1348

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  7. DeSouza CA, Shapiro LF, Clevenger CM, Dinenno FA, Monahan KD, Tanaka H, Seals DR (2000) Regular aerobic exercise prevents and restores age-related declines in endothelium-dependent vasodilation in healthy men. Circulation 102:1351–1357

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  8. Diffee GM, Seversen EA, Titus MM (2001) Exercise training increases the Ca2+ sensitivity of tension in rat cardiac myocytes. J Appl Physiol 91:309–315

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  9. Fadel PJ, Raven PB (2012) Human investigations into the arterial and cardiopulmonary baroreflexes during exercise. Exp Physiol 97:39–50

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Gibala MJ, Little JP, MacDonald MJ, Hawley JA (2012) Physiological adaptations to low-volume, high-intensity interval training in health and disease. J Physiol 590:1077–1084

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  11. Goto C, Higashi Y, Kimura M, Noma K, Hara K, Nakagawa K, Kawamura M, Chayama K, Yoshizumi M, Nara I (2003) Effect of different intensities of exercise on endothelium-dependent vasodilation in humans. Circulation 108:530–535

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Green DJ, Spence A, Halliwill JR, Cable NT, Thijssen DHJ (2011) Exercise and vascular adaptation in asymptomatic humans. Exp Physiol 96:57–70

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  13. Katona PG, McLean M, Dighton DH, Guz A (1982) Sympathetic and parasympathetic cardiac control in athletes and non athletes at rest. J Appl Physiol 52:1652–1657

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  14. Kemi OJ, Ellingsen Ø, Ceci M, Grimaldi S, Smith GL, Condorelli G, Wisløff U (2007) Aerobic interval training enhances cardiomyocyte contractility and Ca2+ cycling by phosphorylation of CaMKII and Thr-17 of phospholamban. J Mol Cell Cardiol 43:354–361

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  15. Kingwell BA, Sherrard B, Jennings GL, Dart AM (1997) Four weeks of cycle training increases basal production of nitric oxide from the forearm. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol 272:H1070–H1077

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  16. Laurent S, Boutouyrie P, Asmar R, Gautier I, Laloux B, Guize L, Ducimetiere P, Benetos A (2001) Aortic stiffness is an independent predictor of all-cause and cardiovascular mortality in hypertensive patients. Hypertension 37:1236–1241

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  17. Lipman RD, Grossman P, Bridges SE, Hamner JW, Taylor JA (2002) Mental stress response, arterial stiffness, and baroreflex sensitivity in healthy aging. J Gerontol Ser A Biol Sci Med Sci 57:B279–B284

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Madden KM, Levy WC, Stratton JK (2006) Exercise training and heart rate variability in older adult female subjects. Clin Invest Med 29:20–28

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  19. Martin WH, Kohrt WM, Malley MT, Korte E, Stoltz S (1990) Exercise training enhances leg vasodilatory capacity of 65-year-old men and women. J Appl Physiol 69:1804–1809

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  20. Martinmäki K, Häkkinen K, Mikkola J, Rusko H (2008) Effect of low-dose endurance training on heart rate variability at rest and during an incremental maximal exercise test. Eur J Appl Physiol 104:541–548

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  21. Monahan KD, Dinenno FA, Tanaka H, Clevenger CM, DeSouza CA, Seals DR (2000) Regular aerobic exercise modulates age-associated declines in cardiovagal baroreflex sensitivity in healthy men. J Physiol 529:263–271

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  22. Munk PS, Butt N, Larsen AI (2010) High-intensity interval exercise training improves heart rate variability in patients following percutaneous coronary intervention for angina pectoris. Int J Cardiol 145:312–314

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  23. Niebauer J, Cooke JP (1996) Cardiovascular effects of exercise: role of endothelial shear stress. J Am Coll Cardiol 28:1652–1660

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  24. Olshansky B, Sabbah HN, Hauptman PJ, Colucci WS (2008) Parasympathetic nervous system and heart failure. Circulation 118:863–871

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  25. Ookuwa H, Takata S, Ogawa J, Iwase N, Ikeda T, Hattori N (1987) Abnormal cardiopulmonary baroreflexes in normotensive young subjects with a family history of essential hypertension. J Clin Hypertens 3:596–604

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  26. Parlow J, Viale J-P, Annat G, Hughson R, Quintin L (1995) Spontaneous cardiac baroreflex in humans: comparison with drug-induced responses. Hypertension 25:1058–1068

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  27. Pichot V, Roche F, Denis C, Garet M, Duverney D, Costes F, Barthélémy J-C (2005) Interval training in elderly men increases both heart rate variability and baroreflex activity. Clin Auton Res 15:107–115

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  28. Pullin CH, Bellamy MF, Bailey D, Ashton M, Davies B, Williams S, Goodfellow J, Wilson JF, Lewis MJ (2004) Time course of changes in endothelial function following exercise in habitually sedentary men. J Exerc Physiol Online 7:14–22

    Google Scholar 

  29. Sandercock GR, Bromley PD, Brodie DA (2005) Effects of exercise on heart rate variability: inferences from meta-analysis. Med Sci Sports Exerc 37:433–439

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  30. Schairer JR, Stein PD, Keteyian S, Fedel F, Ehrman J, Alam M, Henry JW, Shaw T (1992) Left ventricular response to submaximal exercise in endurance-trained athletes and sedentary adults. Am J Cardiol 70:930–933

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  31. Silber D, McLaughlin D, Sinoway L (1991) Leg exercise conditioning increases peak forearm blood flow. J Appl Physiol 71:1568–1573

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  32. Sloan RP, Shapiro PA, DeMeersman RE, Bagiella E, Brondolo EN, McKinley PS, Slavov J, Fang Y, Myers MM (2009) The effect of aerobic training and cardiac autonomie regulation in young adults. Am J Public Health 99:921–928

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  33. Söderström S, Nyberg G, O’Rourke MF, Sellgren J, Pontén J (2002) Can a clinically useful aortic pressure wave be derived from a radial pressure wave? Br J Anaesth 88:481–488

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  34. Sugawara J, Inoue H, Hayashi K, Yokoi T, Kono I (2004) Effect of low-intensity aerobic exercise training on arterial compliance in postmenopausal women. Hypertens Res (Off J Jpn Soc Hypertens) 27:897–901

    Article  Google Scholar 

  35. Tanaka H, Dinenno FA, Monahan KD, Clevenger CM, DeSouza CA, Seals DR (2000) Aging, habitual exercise, and dynamic arterial compliance. Circulation 102:1270–1275

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  36. Tinken TM, Thijssen DHJ, Black MA, Cable NT, Green DJ (2008) Time course of change in vasodilator function and capacity in response to exercise training in humans. J Physiol 586:5003–5012

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  37. Trapp EG, Chisholm DJ, Boutcher SH (2007) Metabolic response of trained and untrained women during high-intensity intermittent cycle exercise. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol 293:R2370–R2375

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  38. Trapp EG, Chisholm DJ, Freund J, Boutcher SH (2008) The effects of high-intensity intermittent exercise training on fat loss and fasting insulin levels of young women. Int J Obes 32:684–691

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  39. Tulppo MP, Hautala AJ, Makikallio TH, Laukkanen RT, Nissila S, Hughson RL, Huikuri HV (2003) Effects of aerobic training on heart rate dynamics in sedentary subjects. J Appl Physiol 95:364–372

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  40. Wilmore JH, Stanforth PR, Gagnon J, Rice T, Mandel S, Leon AS, Rao DC, Skinner JS, Bouchard C (2001) Heart rate and blood pressure changes with endurance training: the heritage family study. Med Sci Sports Exerc 33:107–116

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgments

We would like to thank Chau Tran, Joshua Lane, Roger Burrell, and Lucas Webb for help with data collection. This study was supported by the Diabetes Australia Research Trust (Grant # RM06599).

Conflict of interest

None of the authors had a personal or financial conflict of interest.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Mehrdad Heydari.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Heydari, M., Boutcher, Y.N. & Boutcher, S.H. High-intensity intermittent exercise and cardiovascular and autonomic function. Clin Auton Res 23, 57–65 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10286-012-0179-1

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10286-012-0179-1

Keywords

  • High-intensity intermittent exercise
  • Stroke volume
  • Heart period variability
  • Baroreceptor sensitivity
  • Arterial stiffness