Background/objective: High-intensity interval training (HIIT) can produce similar or improved results compare with traditional training, but the question as to whether HIIT can be used in the setting of physical education (PE) remains unanswered. The aim of this systematic review was to critically analyze the feasibility of incorporating HIIT programs into PE classes to improve the body compositions and cardiorespiratory fitness of overweight students. Methods: We conducted database searches for literature dating between January 2012 and January 2017. Of the final six studies selected, three were conducted in children under 12 years old and three involved adolescents between 12 and 18 years old. Results: The HIIT protocols consisted of 2–3 sessions per week, with intervals of 15 s and passive or active rests of 15 s, totaling up to 6 min of work with 4 min of rest. The duration of HIIT programs was 6–24 weeks. Significant changes were reported in body composition, body mass index, body fat (%), waist circumference, and sum of skinfolds; and increases in muscle mass were observed. The inclusion of HIIT programmes improved maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max), performance in the intermittent Yo-Yo test and maximal aerobic speed. Conclusions: The HIIT programmes showed improvements in the variables studied, with interventions two or three times weekly. Therefore, they can be used in schools, as a strategy to combat the childhood obesity pandemic and HIIT can be use alongside with existing PE activities within the same lesson or in specific periods during day school.
- High-intensity interval training
- Physical fitness
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health