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J Sports Sci. 2011 Mar;29(6):547-53. doi: 10.1080/02640414.2010.545427.

High-intensity interval running is perceived to be more enjoyable than moderate-intensity continuous exercise: implications for exercise adherence.

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  • 1Research Institute for Sport and Exercise Sciences, Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool, UK.


The aim of this study was to objectively quantify ratings of perceived enjoyment using the Physical Activity Enjoyment Scale following high-intensity interval running versus moderate-intensity continuous running. Eight recreationally active men performed two running protocols consisting of high-intensity interval running (6 × 3 min at 90% VO(2max) interspersed with 6 × 3 min active recovery at 50% VO(2max) with a 7-min warm-up and cool down at 70% VO(2max)) or 50 min moderate-intensity continuous running at 70% VO(2max). Ratings of perceived enjoyment after exercise were higher (P < 0.05) following interval running compared with continuous running (88 ± 6 vs. 61 ± 12) despite higher (P < 0.05) ratings of perceived exertion (14 ± 1 vs. 13 ± 1). There was no difference (P < 0.05) in average heart rate (88 ± 3 vs. 87 ± 3% maximum heart rate), average VO(2) (71 ± 6 vs. 73 ± 4%VO(2max)), total VO(2) (162 ± 16 vs. 166 ± 27 L) or energy expenditure (811 ± 83 vs. 832 ± 136 kcal) between protocols. The greater enjoyment associated with high-intensity interval running may be relevant for improving exercise adherence, since running is a low-cost exercise intervention requiring no exercise equipment and similar relative exercise intensities have previously induced health benefits in patient populations.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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