High-intensity intermittent exercise and cardiovascular and autonomic function

Clin Auton Res. 2013 Feb;23(1):57-65. doi: 10.1007/s10286-012-0179-1. Epub 2012 Oct 29.


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.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Autonomic Nervous System / physiology*
  • Cardiography, Impedance
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Heart Rate / physiology*
  • Hemodynamics / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Oxygen Consumption / physiology
  • Stroke Volume / physiology
  • Vascular Stiffness / physiology
  • Young Adult