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Prevalence and predictors of dropout from HIIT

What makes sedentary people drop out?

The findings of this review suggest that sedentary individuals tolerate high-intensity interval training (HIIT) interventions and show lower dropout rates than what has been reported for other exercise interventions.

The predictors of dropout from HIIT were a longer session time, higher time effort per week, and overall time effort per intervention. It was also found that dropout rates were lower in cycling-based interventions than in walking/ running-based interventions.

The adjusted pooled dropout rate across studies was 17.6%. In the 26 studies providing the reason for dropout, personal reasons (46 participants), orthopaedic injuries related to HIIT (20 participants), and injury/ illness not HIIT-related (20 participants) were the most frequent reasons for dropout.

Average time effort across studies was 88.5 minutes per week, with an average adherence of 94.1% across 36 studies. No serious adverse events were reported.

> From: Reljic et al., Scand J Med Sci Sports 29 (2019) 1288-1304 (Epub ahead of print). All rights reserved to John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Click here for the online summary.

Expert opinion

“The best exercise is the one that is actually getting done” is an idea I’m particularly fond of. Adherence to exercise has shown to be a major factor in its effect, regardless of the exercise modality.

HIIT has favourable features in terms of its low requirements in terms of time and equipment, which may increase its appeal for a wide range of individuals. The “high-intensity” part may be thought of as an unappealing factor in terms of adherence, but results from this review suggest that even individuals without exercise habits can keep up with demands and maintain adherence.

As stated by the authors, it would be interesting to determine whether HIIT can also be useful for patient populations and what is the minimum effective dose.

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