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Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Jan 10;17(2). pii: E454. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17020454.

The Impact of Sprint Interval Training Frequency on Blood Glucose Control and Physical Function of Older Adults.

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Division of Sport and Exercise Sciences, Abertay University, Dundee DD1 1HG, UK.
School of Applied Sciences, Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, Edinburgh Napier University, Edinburgh EH11 4DY, UK.


Exercise is a powerful tool for improving health in older adults, but the minimum frequency required is not known. This study sought to determine the effect of training frequency of sprint interval training (SIT) on health and physical function in older adults. Thirty-four (13 males and 21 females) older adults (age 65 ± 4 years) were recruited. Participants were allocated to a control group (CON n = 12) or a once- (n = 11) or twice- (n = 11) weekly sprint interval training (SIT) groups. The control group maintained daily activities; the SIT groups performed 8 weeks of once- or twice-weekly training sessions consisting of 6 s sprints. Metabolic health (oral glucose tolerance test), aerobic capacity (walk test) and physical function (get up and go test, sit to stand test) were determined before and after training. Following training, there were significant improvements in blood glucose control, physical function and aerobic capacity in both training groups compared to control, with changes larger than the smallest worthwhile change. There was a small to moderate effect for blood glucose (d = 0.43-0.80) and physical function (d = 0.43-0.69) and a trivial effect for aerobic capacity (d = 0.01) between the two training frequencies. Once a week training SIT is sufficient to produce health benefits. Therefore, the minimum time and frequency of exercise required is much lower than currently recommended.


ageing; blood glucose control; physical function; sprint interval training

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