Effectiveness of High-Intensity Interval Training Versus Moderate-Intensity Continuous Training in Hypertensive Patients: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Curr Hypertens Rep. 2020 Mar 3;22(3):26. doi: 10.1007/s11906-020-1030-z.


Purpose of review: The purpose of this meta-analysis is to compare the effects of moderate-intensity continuous training (MICT) and high-intensity interval training (HIIT) on blood pressure of hypertensive individuals.

Recent findings: Continuous aerobic training programs are successful in health promotion and are effective in systolic blood pressure (SBP) and diastolic blood pressure (DBP) modulation. However, HIIT seems to be superior to MICT to improvement of cardiorespiratory fitness. PubMed, ScienceDirect, and Google Scholar were searched for randomized clinical trials that compared chronic effects of HIIT and MICT on BP in hypertensive subjects. Pre- and post-intervention changes in maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max) between MICT and HIIT were analyzed. Both interventions presented significant differences in SBP (MICT: mean difference (MD), 3.7 mmHg [95% CI = 2.57, 4.82], p < 0.00001; and HIIT: MD, 5.64 mmHg [95% CI = 1.69, 9.52], p = 0.005) and in DBP (MICT: MD, 2.41 mmHg [95% CI = 1.09, 3.72], p = 0.0003; and HIIT: MD, 4.8 mmHg [95% CI = 2.9, 6.7], p < 0.00001) compared with the control group. No differences were found in the SBP values (MD, 1.13 mmHg [95% CI = - 0.01, 2.27], p = 0.05); however, differences were found between groups in DBP (MD, 1.63 mmHg [95% CI = 0.83, 2.44], p = 0.0001). In the secondary outcome, both interventions increased VO2max in comparison with control groups (MICT: MD, 1.30 ml/kg/min [95% CI = 0.92, 1.68], p < 0.00001; and HIIT: MD, 4.90 ml/kg/min [95% CI = 3.77, 6.04], p < 0.00001), and HIIT promoted greater improvement than MICT (MD, 2.52 ml/kg/min [95% CI = 1.90, 3.13], p < 0.0001). In conclusion, HIIT and MICT promote reduction in SBP in adults with hypertension, and HIIT showed a greater magnitude in DBP reduction. For hypertensive patients, HIIT may be associated with a greater improvement in VO2max than MICT might.

Keywords: Aerobic training; Blood pressure; High-intensity interval training; Hypertension.

Publication types

  • Review