Heart rate response to exercise and cardiorespiratory fitness of young women at high familial risk for hypertension: effects of interval vs continuous training

Eur J Cardiovasc Prev Rehabil. 2011 Dec;18(6):824-30. doi: 10.1177/1741826711398426. Epub 2011 Feb 28.


Exercise training is an effective intervention for treating and preventing hypertension, but its effects on heart rate (HR) response to exercise and cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) of non-hypertensive offspring of hypertensive parents (FH+) has not been studied. We compared the effects of three times per week equal-volume high-intensity aerobic interval (AIT) and continuous moderate-intensity exercise (CME) on HR response to exercise and CRF of FH+. Forty-four young FH+ women (25.0 ± 4.4 years) randomized to control (CON; n = 12), AIT (80-90% of VO(2MAX); n = 16), or CME (50-60% of VO(2MAX); n = 16) performed a graded exercise test (GXT) before and after 16 weeks of follow-up to evaluate HR response to exercise and several parameters of CRF. Resting, maximal, and reserve HR did not change after the follow-up in all groups. HR recovery (difference between HR(MAX) and HR at 1 minute of GXT recovery phase) improved only after AIT (11.8 ± 4.9 vs. 20.6 ± 5.8 bpm, p < 0.01). Both exercise programmes were effective for improving CRF parameters, but AIT was more effective than CME for improving oxygen consumption at the respiratory compensation point (VO(2RCP); 22.1% vs. 8.8%, p = 0.008) and maximal effort (VO(2MAX); 15.8% vs. 8.0%, p = 0.036), as well as tolerance time (TT) to reach anaerobic threshold (TT(AT); 62.0 vs. 37.7, p = 0.048), TT(RCP) (49.3 vs. 32.9, p = 0.032), and TT(MAX) (38.9 vs. 29.2, p = 0.042). Exercise intensity was an important factor in improving HR recovery and CRF of FH+women. These findings may have important implications for designing exercise-training programmes for the prevention of an inherited hypertensive disorder.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Brazil
  • Exercise Test
  • Exercise Therapy*
  • Exercise Tolerance
  • Female
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Heart Rate* / genetics
  • Heredity
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / genetics
  • Hypertension / physiopathology
  • Hypertension / prevention & control*
  • Oxygen Consumption
  • Pedigree
  • Physical Fitness*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Respiration* / genetics
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult