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HIIT'ing or MISS'ing the Optimal Management of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of High- Versus Moderate-Intensity Exercise Prescription

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journal contribution
posted on 2021-11-16, 16:52 authored by Cory T. Richards, Victoria L. Meah, Philip James, D Aled Rees, Rachel LordRachel Lord

Introduction: Polycystic Ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a metabolic disorder associated with increased cardiovascular disease risk. Exercise is an effective treatment strategy to manage symptoms and reduce long-term health risk. High-intensity interval training (HIIT) has been suggested as a more efficient exercise mode in PCOS; however, it is not clear whether HIIT is superior to moderate intensity steady state exercise (MISS). Methods: We synthesized available data through a systematic review and meta-analysis to compare the effectiveness of isolated HIIT and MISS exercise interventions. Our primary outcome measures were cardiorespiratory fitness and insulin resistance, measured using VO˙ 2max and HOMA-IR respectively. Results: A total of 16 studies were included. Moderate-quality evidence from 16 studies identified significant improvements in VO˙ 2max following MISS (1 = 1.081 ml/kg/min, p < 0.001, n = 194), but not HIIT (1 = 0.641 ml/kg/min, p = 0.128, n = 28). Neither HIIT nor MISS improved HOMA-IR [(1 = −0.257, p = 0.374, n = 60) and (1 = −0.341, p = 0.078, n = 159), respectively]. Discussion: A significant improvement in VO˙ 2max was evident following MISS, but not HIIT exercise in women with PCOS. This contrasts with previous literature in healthy and clinical cohorts that report superior benefits of HIIT. Therefore, based on available moderate-quality evidence, HIIT exercise does not provide superior outcomes in VO˙ 2max compared with MISS, although larger high-quality interventions are needed to fully address this. Additional dietary/pharmacological interventions may be required in conjunction with exercise to improve insulin sensitivity.


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Frontiers in Physiology


Frontiers Media

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  • VoR (Version of Record)


Richards, C.T., Meah, V.L., James, P.E., Rees, D.A. and Lord, R.N. (2021) 'HIIT'ing or MISS'ing the Optimal Management of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of High-Versus Moderate-Intensity Exercise Prescription', Frontiers in Physiology, p.1259.

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Cardiff Met Affiliation

  • Cardiff School of Sport and Health Sciences

Cardiff Met Authors

Cory T. Richards Philip E. James Rachel N. Lord

Cardiff Met Research Centre/Group

  • Cardiovascular Metabolism and Inflammation

Copyright Holder

  • © The Authors


  • en