UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Rates of compliance and adherence to high-intensity interval training in insufficiently active adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis protocol Santos, Alexandre; Lonsdale, Chris; Lubans, David; Vasconcellos, Diego; Kapsal, Nathanial; Vis-Dunbar, Mathew; Jung, Mary E.


Background: Both high-intensity interval training and moderate-intensity continuous training demonstrate beneficial physiological outcomes for active and insufficiently active populations. However, it remains unclear whether compliance to exercise in supervised settings translates to long-term adherence to physical activity in real-world, unstructured environments. To our knowledge, no comprehensive review is available on compliance and/or adherence rates to either modes of exercise for insufficiently active individuals. Furthermore, it is unclear which training modality insufficiently active individuals comply and/or adhere more readily to. Based on these gaps, the following two questions will be addressed: (1) What are compliance and adherence rates to high-intensity interval training for insufficiently active adults aged 18–65 years and (2) How do compliance and adherence rates differ between high-intensity interval training and moderate-intensity continuous training? Methods: Both observational and experimental studies that report on compliance and/or adherence rates to high-intensity interval training will be included. Relevant studies will be retrieved from Medline, EMBASE, PsychINFO, SPORTDiscus, CINAHL, and Web of Science using a pre-specified search strategy. Pre-defined inclusion and exclusion criteria will be used by two independent researchers to determine eligible studies. Of those meeting the inclusion criteria, data extraction and narrative synthesis will be completed, and where applicable, random-effects meta-analyses will be computed to compare compliance and adherence rates between high-intensity interval training and moderate-intensity continuous training. Meta-regressions and sensitivity analyses will be used to further explore factors that could influence aggregate effect sizes. Risk of bias will be assessed using established tools by the Cochrane association, and quality assessment of the cumulative evidence will be assessed using the GRADE approach. Discussion: Results from this study may have the potential to inform future physical activity recommendations and guidelines on the ideal mode of exercise for the general population. This review will add to the body of literature on the feasibility of high-intensity interval training for an insufficiently active population, conclusively addressing the ongoing debate of whether it is an appropriate exercise choice for this demographic. With this new information, individuals working towards a healthier lifestyle through physical activity engagement may be better equipped to make an evidence-based decision. Systematic review registration: This review has been registered in the PROSPERO database and assigned the identifier CRD42019103313.

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