To study if repeated yearly training programs consolidate the transient blood pressure (BP) improvements of one exercise program into durable adaptations.
Obese middle-age individuals with metabolic syndrome (MetS) underwent high-intensity aerobic interval training during 16 weeks (November to mid-March) in 3 consecutive years [training group (TRAIN); N = 23]. Evolution of MetS components was compared with a matched-group that remained sedentary [control group (CONT); N = 26].
At the end of the first training program (0–4 months), TRAIN lowered systolic arterial pressure, blood glucose, waist circumference and MetS Z-score below CONT (−8.5 ± 2.5 mmHg; −19.9 ± 2.6 mg/dl; −3.8 ± 0.1 cm and −0.3 ± 0.1, respectively, all P < 0.05). With detraining (month 4–12) TRAIN adaptations relapsed to the levels of baseline (month 0) except for BP. A second exercise program (month 12–16) lowered blood glucose and waist circumference below CONT (−19.0 ± 2.0 mg/dl; −4.1 ± 0.1 cm). After detraining (month 16–24) BP, blood glucose and Z-score started below CONT values (−6.8 ± 0.9 mmHg; −24.6 ± 2.5 mg/dl and −0.4 ± 0.05, respectively, all P < 0.05) and those differences enlarged with the last training program (month 24–28). Ten-year atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease risk estimation increased only in CONT (8.6 ± 1.1–10.1 ± 1.3%; year 2–3; P < 0.05).
At least two consecutive years of 4-month aerobic interval training are required to chronically improve MetS (Z-score). The chronic effect is mediated by BP that does not fully return to pretraining values allowing a cumulative improvement. On the other hand, sedentarism in MetS patients during 3 years increases their predicted atherosclerotic diseases risk.