Research Article| Volume 24, ISSUE 7, P792-798, July 2014

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Time-course effects of aerobic interval training and detraining in patients with metabolic syndrome


      Background and aims

      Exercise training can improve health of patients with metabolic syndrome (MetS). However, which MetS factors are most responsive to exercise training remains unclear. We studied the time-course of changes in MetS factors in response to training and detraining.

      Methods and results

      Forty eight MetS patients (52 ± 8.8 yrs old; 33 ± 4 BMI) underwent 4 months (3 days/week) of supervised aerobic interval training (AIT) program. After 1 month of training, there were progressive increases in high density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-c) and reductions in waist circumference and blood pressure (12 ± 3, −3.9 ± 0.4, and −12 ± 1%, respectively after 4 months; all P < 0.05). However, fasting plasma concentration of triglycerides and glucose were not reduced by training. Insulin sensitivity (HOMA), cardiorespiratory fitness (VO2peak) and exercise maximal fat oxidation (FOMAx) also progressively improved with training (−17 ± 5; 21 ± 2 and 31 ± 8%, respectively, after 4 months; all P < 0.05). Vastus lateralis samples from seven subjects revealed that mitochondrial O2 flux was markedly increased with training (71 ± 11%) due to increased mitochondrial content. After 1 month of detraining, the training-induced improvements in waist circumference and blood pressure were maintained. HDL-c and VO2peak returned to the values found after 1–2 months of training while HOMA and FOMAx returned to pre-training values.


      The health related variables most responsive to aerobic interval training in MetS patients are waist circumference, blood pressure and the muscle and systemic adaptations to consume oxygen and fat. However, the latter reverse with detraining while blood pressure and waist circumference are persistent to one month of detraining.


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