We aimed to determine if yearly repeated exercise training reduces metabolic syndrome (MetS) and the use of medicines to control MetS components.Methods
Fifty-five MetS individuals were randomized into a TRAIN group that underwent two yearly programs of 16-wk high-intensity interval training or a nonexercising CONT group. We measured the evolution of all five MetS components, cardiorespiratory fitness (assessed by V˙O2PEAK) and medicine use, at baseline (0 months), mid (12 months), and end-point (24 months). Testing took place 8 months after the last training session to assess the chronic effects of training.Results
Daily physical activity (wristband activity monitors) and calorie intake (3-d nutritional diary) remained similar to baseline at 1 and 2 yr in each group and were not different between groups. Blood triglycerides and glucose concentrations did not significantly vary in any group. However, waist circumference increased only in CONT after 2 yr (107 ± 2 cm to 111 ± 3 cm; P = 0.004). Mean arterial pressure decreased in TRAIN (101 ± 2 mm Hg to 94 ± 2 mm Hg; P = 0.002), whereas it remained unchanged in CONT (98 ± 2 mm Hg to 99 ± 2 mm Hg; P = 1.000) after 2 yr. Starting from similar levels at baseline, after 2 yr V˙O2PEAK was higher (2.32 ± 0.14 L·min−1 vs 1.98 ± 0.11 L·min−1; P = 0.049) and medicine use lower (1.27 ± 0.22 vs 2.23 ± 0.43; P = 0.043) in TRAIN than CONT. The reduction in MAP in TRAIN commanded a parallel reduction in MetS Z-score from baseline to 2 yr (0.30 ± 0.1 to 0.07 ± 0.1; P = 0.013).Conclusions
Two yearly 16-wk high-intensity interval training programs are enough exercise to chronically lower MetS while preventing the reductions in cardiorespiratory fitness associated to aging. Of clinical relevance, yearly exercise training halts the increase in medicine use that occurs in non-exercising MetS individuals.