Lu, S.-Y., Tsao, L.-Y., & Chen, M.-H. (2013). Continuous versus intermittent exercise training: 8-week intervention outcomes in aerobic capacity and autonomic balance. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 45(5), Supplement abstract number 2153.

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This study compared the effects of eight weeks of continuous or intermittent moderate exercise training on aerobic capacity and autonomic regulation in college students (M = 20; F = 20). Ss were divided into male continuous, male intermittent, female continuous, and female intermittent groups. Training consisted of treadmill exercise for 30 minutes per day, three days a week. During the exercise training, the continuous group ran for 30 minutes continuously, while the intermittent group performed 3 10 minutes of running separated by at least 10 minutes of rest. Aerobic capacity was measured by maximal oxygen consumption on a treadmill. Autonomic balance was mirrored by heart rate variability.

After eight weeks of training, improvements in aerobic capacity and autonomic balance were not significantly different between the two training programs in both males and females. Both continuous and intermitted training programs improved aerobic capacity and autonomic regulation in healthy college students.

Implication. When exercising at moderate intensity, intermittent exercise is as good as continuous exercise training for improving aerobic capacity.

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