Recently, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) has received much attention as a promising exercise option not only to improve aerobic fitness, but also to prevent and improve lifestyle-related diseases. Epidemiological studies have shown that the exercise volume, as determined by the product of exercise intensity, duration, and frequency, has been shown to be important for improvements in muscle mitochondrial activity and subsequent improvements in aerobic fitness, insulin sensitivity, and metabolic variables. Therefore, continuous moderate-intensity training has been widely recommended. On the other hand, the main contributor of HIIT to improvements in aerobic fitness and metabolic variables is its high-intensity nature, and many recent studies have shown results favoring HIIT when compared with conventional continuous training, despite its shorter exercise duration and smaller exercise volume. In this review, we aim to show the possible universal application of HIIT in a hospital setting, where athletes, sports lovers, and patients have sought medical advice and have the opportunity to undergo detailed evaluations, including an exercise stress test. For athletes, HIIT is mandatory to achieve further improvements in aerobic fitness. For patients, though higher levels of motivation and careful evaluation are required, the time constraints of HIIT are smaller and both aerobic and resistance training can be expected to yield favorable results because of the high-intensity nature of HIIT.
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