Objective: To examine the effect of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) on body fat mass and distribution in patients with myocardial infarction (MI) who underwent cardiac rehabilitation (CR). Patients and Methods: We retrospectively screened 391 consecutive patients with MI enrolled in CR between September 1, 2015, and February 28, 2018. We included 120 patients who completed 36 CR sessions and underwent pretest-posttest dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry; 90 engaged in HIIT, and 30 engaged in moderate-intensity continuous training (MICT). High-intensity interval training included 4 to 8 alternating intervals of high- (30-60 seconds at a rating of perceived exertion [RPE] of 15-17 [Borg scale range, 6-20]) and low-intensity (1-5 minutes at RPE <14), and MICT performed for 20 to 45 minutes of exercise at an RPE of 12 to 14. Body weight, fat mass, and lean mass were measured via dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry with lipid profile measured via clinical procedures. Results: The HIIT and MICT groups were similar in age (67 vs 67 years), sex (26.7% [24 of 90 patients in the HIIT group] vs 26.7% [8 of 30 in the MICT group), and body mass index (30.3 vs 29.5 kg/m2) at baseline. The HIIT group had greater reductions in body fat percentage (P<.001), fat mass (P<.001), abdominal fat percentage (P<.001), waist circumference (P=.01), total cholesterol (P=.002), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (P<.001), and triglycerides (P=.006). Improvements in total body mass and body mass index were not different across groups. After matching exercise duration, exercise intensity, and energy expenditure, HIIT-induced improvements in total fat mass (P=.02), body fat percentage (P=.01), and abdominal fat percentage (P=.02) persisted. Conclusion: Our data suggest that supervised HIIT results in significant reductions in total fat mass (P<.001) and abdominal fat percentage (P<.001) and improved lipid profile in patients with MI who undergo CR.
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