A new study at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim, Norway, has revealed that high-intensity exercise is protective against coronary heart disease (CHD). The researchers found that high-intensity exercises are beneficial not only safe for people who already have heart disease.
The panel of researchers analysed data from four randomized, controlled trials conducted at the centre to try to determine what characterized the most effective high-intensity training programme for this patient group.
The researchers used changes in VO2max, which is peak oxygen uptake, as a measure of the effectiveness of the different exercise regimes. The trials lasted for 12 weeks, in which participants walked uphill outdoors, ran on treadmill or trained in a group, following the 4x4 exercise model (4 minutes of high-intensity exercise followed by 3 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise, repeated 4 times).
They found that the number of training sessions, the subject's age or baseline fitness levels had no impact; however the intensity of the intervals had a significant effect, and seemed to be the most important characteristic of an effective interval session. As there were patients who either had acute coronary syndrome or angina pectoris, the results confirmed that high-intensity exercise is safe, even for patients with CHD.
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