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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014, Article ID 616935, 8 pages
Clinical Study

High-Intensity Interval Training in Patients with Substance Use Disorder

1Department of Circulation and Medical Imaging, Faculty of Medicine, The Norwegian University of Science and Technology, 7006 Trondheim, Norway
2Department of Research and Development, Clinic of Substance Use and Addiction Medicine, St.Olav’s University Hospital, 7030 Trondheim, Norway

Received 21 December 2013; Revised 22 January 2014; Accepted 23 January 2014; Published 2 March 2014

Academic Editor: Lars L. Andersen

Copyright © 2014 Grete Flemmen et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Patients with substance use disorder (SUD) suffer a higher risk of cardiovascular disease and other lifestyle diseases compared to the general population. High intensity training has been shown to effectively reduce this risk, and therefore we aimed to examine the feasibility and effect of such training in SUD patients in clinical treatment in the present study. 17 males and 7 females (32 ± 8 yr) in treatment were randomized to either a training group (TG), treadmill interval training in 4 × 4 minutes at 90–95% of maximal heart rate, 3 days a week for 8 weeks, or a conventional rehabilitation control group (CG). Baseline values for both groups combined at inclusion were 44 ± 8 (males) and 34 ± 9 (females) mL · min−1 · kg−1, respectively. 9/12 and 7/12 patients completed the TG and CG, respectively. Only the TG significantly improved (15 ± 7%) their maximal oxygen consumption (V ), from 42.3 ± 7.2 mL · min−1 · kg−1 at pretest to 48.7 ± 9.2 mL · min−1 · kg−1 at posttest. No between-group differences were observed in work economy, and level of insomnia (ISI) or anxiety and depression (HAD), but a significant within-group improvement in depression was apparent for the TG. High intensity training was feasible for SUD patients in treatment. This training form should be implemented as a part of the rehabilitation since it, in contrast to the conventional treatment, represents a risk reduction for cardiovascular disease and premature death.