Researchers confirm: High-intensity interval exercise has the same health benefits as a longer workout session


Australian researchers have compared the results of high-intensity interval exercise to the effects of a much longer endurance exercise. They reported that the shorter, more intense form of exercise can achieve the same metabolic results of a more conventional workout.

The researchers were supported by Victoria University. They published their paper in the American Journal of Physiology-Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology.

  • The experiment involved eight physically active participants. They performed continuous moderate-intensity, high-intensity interval, and low-volume spring interval exercises. The minimum interval between each exercise was seven days.
  • Muscle biopsies were performed at baseline, immediately after an exercise session, and three hours after the exercise. They analyzed markers involved with mitochondrial function in muscles, such as mitochondrial respirometry, H2O2 emission, and expression of certain genes and proteins.
  • AMP-activated protein kinase and acetyl co-A carboxylase phosphorylation both increased. Conversely, thioredoxin-reductase-1 protein decreased.
  • At the three-hour mark after the exercise, mitochondrial respirometry went down during assisted and uncoupled respiration. JH2O2 levels rose, expression of the messenger RNA PPARGC1A greatly increased, but the expression of peroxiredoxin-1 protein dropped.
  • High-intensity interval exercise exerted the same effects on the functions of muscle mitochondria as endurance exercise. The results were the same even if the former did not manage to match the total workload of the latter.

Based on the results of their study, the researchers suggest that exercise prescriptions can be tailored to suit the preference of a person while still attaining the same metabolic benefits.

WomensFitnessFocus.com has more articles on how to get the most out of physical exercise.

Journal Reference:

Trewin AJ, Parker L, Shaw CS, Hiam D, Garnham AP, Levinger I, McConnell GK, Stepto NK. ACUTE HIIE ELICITS SIMILAR CHANGES IN HUMAN SKELETAL MUSCLE MITOCHONDRIAL H2O2 RELEASE, RESPIRATION AND CELL SIGNALING AS ENDURANCE EXERCISE EVEN WITH LESS WORK. American Journal of Physiology-Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology. 2018 Sep 5. DOI: 10.1152/ajpregu.00096.2018.

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