High intensity training (HIT) is effective at improving health; however, it is unknown whether HIT also improves physical function. This study aimed to determine whether HIT improves metabolic health and physical function in untrained middle aged individuals. Fourteen (three male and eleven female) untrained individuals were recruited (control group n = 6: age 42 ± 8 y, weight 64 ± 10 kg, BMI 24 ± 2 kg·m−2 or HIT group n = 8: age 43 ± 8 y, weight 80 ± 8 kg, BMI 29 ± 5 kg·m−2). Training was performed twice weekly, consisting of 10 × 6-second sprints with a one minute recovery between each sprint. Metabolic health (oral glucose tolerance test), aerobic capacity (incremental time to exhaustion on a cycle ergometer) and physical function (get up and go test, sit to stand test and loaded 50 m walk) were determined before and after training. Following eight weeks of HIT there was a significant improvement in aerobic capacity (8% increase in VO2 peak; p < 0.001), physical function (11%–27% respectively; p < 0.05) and a reduction in blood glucose area under the curve (6% reduction; p < 0.05). This study demonstrates for the first time the potential of HIT as a training intervention to improve skeletal muscle function and glucose clearance as we age.
Adamson, S., Lorimer, R., Cobley, J. N., Lloyd, R., & Babraj, J. A. (2014). High intensity training improves health and physical function in middle aged adults. Biology, 3(2), 333-344. https://doi.org/10.3390/biology3020333