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Abstract

Objectives:

This article examines the effects of brief, intense exercise in comparison with traditional endurance exercise on both novel and traditional markers of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in youth.

Methods:

Forty seven boys and ten girls (16.4 ± 0.7 years of age) were divided into a moderate (MOD), high intensity (HIT), or a control group. The MOD group (12 boys, 4 girls) and HIT group (15 boys, 2 girls) performed three weekly exercise sessions over 7 weeks. Each session consisted of either four to six repeats of maximal sprint running within a 20 m area with 20–30 s recovery (HIT) or 20 min continuous running within a 20 m area at ∼70% maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max).

Results:

Total exercise time commitment over the intervention was 420 min (MOD) and 63 min (HIT). Training volume was 85% lower for the HIT group. Total estimated energy expenditure was ∼907.2 kcal (HIT) and ∼4410 kcal (MOD). Significant improvements (P ≤ 0.05) were found in systolic blood pressure, aerobic fitness, and body mass index (BMI) postintervention (HIT). In the MOD group, significant (P ≤ 0.05) improvements were noted in aerobic fitness, percentage body fat (%BF), BMI, fibrinogen (Fg), plasminogen activator inhibitor-1, and insulin concentrations.

Conclusions:

These findings demonstrate that brief, intense exercise is a time efficient means for improving CVD risk factors in adolescents. Am. J. Hum. Biol., 2011. © 2011 Wiley-Liss, Inc.