Effects of high-intensity interval training and moderate-intensity continuous training on endothelial function and cardiometabolic risk markers in obese adults

Brandon J. Sawyer, Wesley J. Tucker, Dharini M. Bhammar, Justin R. Ryder, Karen Sweazea, Glenn Gaesser

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46 Scopus citations


We hypothesized that high-intensity interval training (HIIT) would be more effective than moderate-intensity continuous training (MICT) at improving endothelial function and maximum oxygen uptake (V? O2 max) in obese adults. Eighteen participants [35.1 8.1 (SD) yr; body mass index 36.0 5.0 kg/m2] were randomized to 8 wk (3 sessions/wk) of either HIIT [10 1 min, 90-95% maximum heart rate (HRmax), 1-min active recovery] or MICT (30 min, 70-75% HRmax). Brachial artery flow-mediated dilation (FMD) increased after HIIT (5.13 2.80% vs. 8.98 2.86%, P<0.02) but not after MICT (5.23 2.82% vs. 3.05 2.76%, P<0.16). Resting artery diameter increased after MICT (3.68 0.58 mm vs. 3.86 0.58 mm, P<0.02) but not after HIIT (4.04 0.70 mm vs. 4.09 0.70 mm; P<0.63). There was a significant (P<0.02) group time interaction in low flowmediated constriction (L-FMC) between MICT (0.63 2.00% vs. 2.79 3.20%; P<0.03) and HIIT (1.04 4.09% vs. 1.74 3.46%; P<0.29). V ? O2 max increased (P-0.01) similarly after HIIT (2.19 0.65 l/min vs. 2.64 0.88 l/min) and MICT (2.24 0.48 l/min vs. 2.55 0.61 l/min). Biomarkers of cardiovascular risk and endothelial function were unchanged. HIIT and MICT produced different vascular adaptations in obese adults, with HIIT improving FMD and MICT increasing resting artery diameter and enhancing L-FMC. HIIT required 27.5% less total exercise time and 25% less energy expenditure than MICT.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)279-288
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Applied Physiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 2016



  • Cardiovascular
  • Exercise
  • Fitness
  • Flow-mediated dilation
  • Obesity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)

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