Cardiovascular response of postmenopausal women to 8 weeks of sprint interval training

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Abstract Introduction Menopause is accompanied by decreased aerobic fitness and increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Sprint interval training (SIT) is a time-efficient intervention for improving cardiovascular function and aerobic fitness of young adults.


Aim To determine the effect of an 8-week SIT program on the cardiovascular function and aerobic fitness of overweight postmenopausal women.


Method Thirty overweight postmenopausal women were randomized into exercise (n=15) or control (n=15) groups. The intervention group completed three SIT sessions a week for 8 weeks. Each session consisted of 20 min of 8-s sprints and 12 s of light pedalling. Participants also completed 8 min of light aerobic cycle exercise, before and after the SIT intervention. Cardiovascular function including heart rate, stroke volume (SV), and diastolic filling time (DFT) was assessed before and after the intervention and during 8 min of light aerobic exercise. Estimated maximal oxygen uptake (V̇ O2max) was also assessed. Results Resting SV was increased (p=0.001) from pre- (77.5±17.0 mL) to post-SIT (81.3±17.0 mL), whereas SV during 8 min of light aerobic exercise was increased (p=0.000), from pre- (97.8±1.6 mL) to post-test (103.5±17.8 mL). Resting DFT was increased, (p=0.010), at pre- (333.4±94.4 mL) to post-SIT (357.4±88.2 mL), whereas DFT during 8 min of aerobic exercise was increased, (p=0.000), from pre- (480.1±99.5 mL) to posttest (527.2±123.0 mL). Predicted V̇ O2max was increased, (p=0.016), from pre- (19.5±5.87 mL kg−1 min−1) to post-SIT (21.4±7.02 mL kg−1 min−1).


Conclusion SIT improved cardiovascular function and aerobic fitness of overweight postmenopausal women after 8 weeks of exercise.









In summary, it was found that SIT improved predicted V̇ O2max of overweight, sedentary postmenopausal women. The increase in predicted V̇ O2max was largely brought about by increases in SV caused mainly by enhanced DFT. The SIT group also significantly decreased their exercise HR. In contrast, after SIT no significant changes in plasma volume occurred. Results also indicate that sedentary, overweight postmenopausal women were able to successfully complete this form of high-intensity exercise training. Increases in V̇ O2max have been shown to lead to decreased cardiovascular risk and mortality, suggesting that SIT can be used as a nonpharmacological way of enhancing the health of overweight postmenopausal women.
 

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