Interval Training Boosts Women’s Health
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is an enhanced form of interval training, an exercise strategy alternating periods of short intense anaerobic exercise with less-intense recovery periods. Whereas numerous interval training studies have focused primarily on men, C. Matthew Laurent, of Bowling Green University (Ohio, USA), and colleagues compared the exercise modality to ascertain differences in benefits between men and women. The researchers put eight men and eight women, ages 19 to 30 years, through self-paced, high intensity interval training using different recovery periods. All of them reported at least a moderate fitness level and participation in at least one session of interval training a week. Participants hit the treadmill for six, four-minute intervals performed at the highest intensity they felt they could maintain. Recovery between intervals consisted of one minute, two minutes or four minutes. Throughout the intervals, their maximum oxygen consumption and heart rates were measured. Results revealed a significant effect of gender on both percentages. Across the trials, men self-selected a faster relative pace, but the women worked at a higher percentage of their maximum heart rate than the men and a higher percentage of their maximum oxygen consumption. The study authors observe that: “women may demonstrate Matthew R.; et al. “Sex specific responses to self-paced, high-intensity interval training with variable recovery periods.” Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research., 8 July 2013.