Efficacy of high-intensity interval training for improving mental health and health-related quality of life in women with polycystic ovary syndrome

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Patten, Rhiannon ORCID: 0000-0002-1655-1849, McIlvenna, Luke C ORCID: 0000-0003-3759-3711, Moreno-Asso, Alba ORCID: 0000-0003-1213-2572, Hiam, Danielle ORCID: 0000-0003-0135-329X, Stepto, Nigel ORCID: 0000-0002-0875-6836, Rosenbaum, Simon ORCID: 0000-0002-8984-4941 and Parker, Alexandra ORCID: 0000-0002-2398-6306 (2023) Efficacy of high-intensity interval training for improving mental health and health-related quality of life in women with polycystic ovary syndrome. Scientific Reports, 13. ISSN 2045-2322 (In Press)


Women with PCOS have substantially greater symptoms of depression and anxiety, and a lower health-related quality of life (HRQoL) compared to women without PCOS. The aim of this study was to determine if high-intensity interval training (HIIT) could provide greater improvements in mental health outcomes than standard moderate-intensity continuous training (MICT). Twenty-nine overweight women with PCOS aged 18–45 years were randomly assigned to 12 weeks of either MICT (60–75% HRpeak, N = 15) or HIIT (> 90% HRpeak, N = 14). Outcome measures included symptoms of depression, anxiety and stress (DASS-21), general HRQoL (SF-36) and PCOS specific HRQoL (PCOSQ) collected at baseline and post-intervention. Reductions in depression (Δ − 1.7, P = 0.005), anxiety (Δ − 3.4, P < 0.001) and stress (Δ − 2.4, P = 0.003) scores were observed in the HIIT group, while MICT only resulted in a reduction in stress scores (Δ − 2.9, P = 0.001). Reductions in anxiety scores were significantly higher in the HIIT group compared to the MICT group (β = − 2.24, P = 0.020). Both HIIT and MICT significantly improved multiple domain scores from the SF-36 and PCOSQ. This study highlights the potential of HIIT for improving mental health and HRQoL in overweight women with PCOS. HIIT may be a viable strategy to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety in women with PCOS, however, large-scale studies are required to confirm these findings. Trial registration number: ACTRN12615000242527.

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Item type Article
URI https://vuir.vu.edu.au/id/eprint/46674
DOI 10.1038/s41598-023-29503-1
Official URL https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-023-29503-1
Subjects Current > FOR (2020) Classification > 4207 Sports science and exercise
Current > Division/Research > Australian Institute of Musculoskeletal Science (AIMSS)
Current > Division/Research > Institute for Health and Sport
Keywords polycystic ovary syndrome, PCOS, depression, anxiety, quality of life, HIIT, high intensity interval training
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