Objective: In this study we evaluated the effect of sprint interval training on metabolic and physical fitness in adolescents and young adults with intellectual disabilities when compared with continuous aerobic training and no training (control).
Methods: Fifty-four persons with intellectual disabilities (age: 17 (3.0), body mass index: 27.7 (3.7), intelligence quotient: 59 (8.6)) were matched based on age, gender and intelligence quotient between sprint interval training (n = 17), continuous aerobic training (n = 15) and control (n = 14). Sprint interval training was composed of three blocks of 10 minutes at ventilatory threshold (blocks 1 and 3: 10 sprint bouts of 15 seconds, followed by 45 seconds relative rest; block 2: continuous training) twice a week for 15 weeks. Continuous aerobic training was composed of three blocks of 10 minutes continuous training. After eight weeks, intensity was increased to 110% of ventilatory threshold. The control group did not participate in supervised exercise training. Before and after the training period, body composition, physical and metabolic fitness were evaluated.
Results: Sprint interval training showed a significant positive evolution for waist circumference, fat%, systolic blood pressure, lipid profile, fasting insulin, homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance, peak VO2, peak Watt, ventilatory threshold, 6-minute walk distance and muscle fatigue resistance when compared with no training (P < 0.01). The sprint interval training group demonstrated significant improvements for fat%, systolic blood pressure, low-density lipoprotein, fasting insulin, peak VO2 and peak power and ventilatory threshold (P < 0.01) when compared with continuous aerobic training.
Conclusion: In this study we could observe that sprint interval training has stronger beneficial effects on body composition, physical fitness and metabolic fitness compared with control. Compared with continuous aerobic training, sprint interval training seems to result in better outcome.
Keywords: Physical fitness; continuous aerobic training; intellectual disability; metabolic fitness; sprint interval training.