Am J Cardiovasc Dis 2012;2(2):102-110

Review Article
High-intensity interval training and hypertension: maximizing the benefits of

Emmanuel Gomes Ciolac

1Hospital das Clínicas da Faculdade de Medicina da Universidade de São Paulo, Institute of Orthopedics and
Traumatology, Laboratory of Kinesiology, Sao Paulo, Brazil; 2Universidade do Grande ABC, Santo André, Brazil

Received February 24, 2012; accepted March 15, 2012; Epub May 15, 2012; Published June 15, 2012

Abstract: Essential arterial hypertension is the most common risk factor for cardiovascular morbidity and mortality.
Regular exercise is a well-established intervention for the prevention and treatment of hypertension. Continuous
moderate-intensity exercise training (CMT) that can be sustained for 30 min or more has been traditionally recommended
for hypertension prevention and treatment. On the other hand, several studies have shown that high-intensity interval
training (HIT), which consists of several bouts of high-intensity exercise (~85% to 95% of HRMAX and/or VO2MAX lasting 1
to 4 min interspersed with intervals of rest or active recovery, is superior to CMT for improving cardiorespiratory fitness,
endothelial function and its markers, insulin sensitivity, markers of sympathetic activity and arterial stiffness in hypertensive
and normotensive at high familial risk for hypertension subjects. This compelling evidence suggesting larger beneficial
effects of HIT for several factors involved in the pathophysiology of hypertension raises the hypothesis that HIT may be
more effective for preventing and controlling hypertension. (AJCD1202003).

Keywords: Exercise, hypertension, autonomic nervous system, endothelial function, arterial stiffness

Address all correspondence to:
Dr. Emmanuel G Ciolac
Instituto de Ortopedia e Traumatologia do HCFMUSP
Laboratório de Estudos do Movimento
Rua Dr. Ovídio Pires de Campos, 333
Sao Paulo 05403-010, Brazil.
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