High intensity interval training or moderate intensity continuous exercise in patients with myocardial infarction?

Irene C. Themistocleous, Manos Stefanakis


Arab Journal of Nutrition and Exercise                                                                                                       

ISSN:2518-6590           Published on 31st August, 2017


Objectives: To determine the effects of high intensity interval training (HIIT) or moderate intensity continuous exercise (MICE) in patients with myocardial infarction (MI). 

Background: Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of mortality and morbidity globally causing a significant reduction in the quality of life of these patients. Participation of these patients in rehabilitation programs which involve a significant component of exercise seems to help by improving functional capacity and quality of life (QoL). Despite the beneficial effect of exercise, the type of exercise that yields the best results is yet to be determined.

Methods: Three databases (MEDLINE, CINHAL and SportDirect) were searched in May-June 2017 for original articles regarding the effect of two types of exercise in patients with myocardial infarction. Randomized control trial studies which enrolled patients with myocardial infarction and studied the effects of HIIT and/or MICE, were included in this review. Data were extracted and summarised and all studies were assessed for bias.

Results: Both forms of exercise seem to improve the relevant outcome measures such as functional capacity, QoL, walking distance, fatigue and function of the left heart. However HIIT seemed to be better in comparison with MICE in improving these outcomes. Several limitations and risk of bias have been identified and reported.

Conclusion: Both HIIT and MICE are recommended for patients with MI. Further research is required to conclusively support the superiority of HIIT over other types of exercise.


HIIT; MICE;high intensity interval training; moderate intensity continuous exercise; MI; myocardial infarction; systematic review

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