Home exercise regimen matches UK guidelines in less time

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ExcerciseA small study shows that a home-based high-intensity interval training can deliver the same health benefits in three 20-minute sessions as achieved from the UK government guidelines of 150 moderate aerobic activity minutes a week.

UK government guidelines suggest that, in order to stay healthy, adults should perform at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity every week – that’s exercise that gets your breathing and heart rate up. Now a study has investigated a home-based high-intensity interval training (Home-HIT) programme and studied its benefits for clinically obese individuals with an elevated risk of heart disease.

Previous research has demonstrated that under controlled laboratory conditions, you can get the same benefits from three 20-minute exercise sessions, as from the government-recommended 150 minutes. However, the question is whether data produced in highly controlled laboratory environments can be translated to the real world.

The research team at Liverpool John Moores University were interested in whether Home-HIT is a time-efficient strategy that helps to reduce other common exercise barriers such as difficultly with access to exercise facilities due travel time and cost.

In this study, 32 obese people completed a 12-week programme of either: 1) a supervised, lab-based cycling HIT programme, 2) the Government-recommended 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise or 3) a home-based HIT programme of simple body weight exercises suitable for people with low fitness and low mobility, and performed without equipment. For all of these regimens, the exercise was performed three times per week.

The researchers measured a range of health markers in these participants, including body composition, cardiovascular disease risk, and the ability to regulate glucose. They found that the home-based HIT was as effective as both the government-recommended 150 minutes and the supervised, lab-based HIT programme for improving fitness in obese individuals.

Sam Scott, first author of the study said: “An exercise regimen, such as Home-HIT, that reduces barriers to exercise, such as time, cost, and access, and increases adherence in previously inactive individuals gives people a more attainable exercise goal and thus could help improve the health of countless individuals.”

Abstract
This study investigated the effect of a novel virtually‐supervised home‐based high‐intensity interval training (HIT) (Home‐HT) intervention in obese individuals with elevated cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk on capillarisation and muscle microvascular eNOS/NAD(P)Hoxidase ratio. Thirty‐two adults with elevated CVD risk (age 36 ± 10 years; BMI 34.3 ± 5 kg∙m−2; V̇O2peak 24.6 ± 5.7 ml∙kg∙min−1), completed one of three 12‐week training programmes: Home‐HIT (n = 9); laboratory‐based supervised HIT (Lab‐HIT; n = 10) or virtually‐supervised home‐based moderate‐intensity continuous training (Home‐MICT; n = 13). Muscle biopsies were taken pre‐ and post‐training to assess changes in vascular enzymes, capillarisation, mitochondrial density, intramuscular triglyceride content and GLUT4 protein expression using quantitative immunofluorescence microscopy. Training increased V̇O2peak (P < 0.001), whole‐body insulin sensitivity (P = 0.033) and flow‐mediated dilation (P<0.001), while aortic pulse wave velocity decreased (P < 0.001) in all 3 groups. Immunofluorescence microscopy revealed comparable increases in total eNOS content in terminal arterioles and capillaries (P < 0.001) in the 3 conditions. There was no change in eNOS ser1177phosphorylation (arterioles P = 0.802; capillaries P = 0.311), but eNOS ser1177/eNOS content ratio significantly decreased following training in arterioles and capillaries (P < 0.001). Training decreased NOX2 content (arterioles P < 0.001; capillaries P < 0.001), but there was no change in p47phox content (arterioles P = 0.101; capillaries P = 0.345). All measures of capillarisation increased (P < 0.05). There were no between group differences. Despite having no direct supervision during exercise, virtually‐supervised Home‐HIT resulted in comparable structural and endothelial enzymatic changes in the skeletal muscle microvessels to the traditional training methods. We provide strong evidence that Home‐HIT is an effective novel strategy to remove barriers to exercise and improve health in an obese population at risk of CVD.

Authors
Sam Scott, Sam O Shepherd, Nicola Hopkins, Ellen A Dawson, Juliette A Strauss, David J Wright, Robert G Cooper, Pradesh Kumar, Anton JM Wagenmakers, Matthew Cocks

The Physiological Society material
Journal of Physiology abstract


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