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High-intensity interval training: key data needed to bridge the gap from laboratory to public health policy
  1. Stuart R Gray1,
  2. Carrie Ferguson2,
  3. Karen Birch2,
  4. Laura J Forrest3,
  5. Jason M R Gill1
  1. 1 Institute of Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK
  2. 2 School of Biomedical Sciences, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK
  3. 3 Institute of Clinical Exercise and Health Science, University of West of Scotland, Hamilton, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Stuart R Gray, Institute of Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences, University of Glasgow, Glasgow G12 8TA, UK; stuart.gray{at}

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The World Health Organization and a number of national bodies recommend adults undertake at least 150 min/week of moderate intensity physical activity, or 75 min/week of vigorous intensity physical activity. However, a large proportion of the population do not achieve these targets. Lack of time is often cited as a primary barrier,1 and many researchers have suggested that high-intensity interval training (HIIT), with interval durations from 10 s to 4 min and intensities ranging from 85% maximal heart rate (HRmax) to ‘all out’ efforts, may provide a time-efficient solution to improve public health.2

A wealth of evidence has demonstrated that HIIT can elicit a range of health benefits such as improved cardiorespiratory fitness, insulin sensitivity and vascular function, with these benefits being of at least a similar magnitude to those seen with standard moderate intensity physical activity interventions.3 ,4 These data are clear and convincing. However, they largely emanate from …

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  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.