Extraordinary claims in the literature on high-intensity interval training (HIIT): III. Critical analysis of four foundational arguments from an interdisciplinary lens

Panteleimon Ekkekakis, Jeff Vallance, Philip M. Wilson, Carol Ewing Garber

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Kinesiology aspires to be an integrated, interdisciplinary field that studies human movement from multiple perspectives. However, the main societal deliverables of the field, namely exercise prescriptions and physical activity recommendations, still reflect fragmentation, placing more emphasis on physiological outcomes than on behavioral and other considerations. Recently, researchers have called for the introduction of High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) to the domain of public health, based on the argument that HIIT can maximize fitness and health benefits for a fraction of the time recommended by the prevailing model of physical activity in public-health guidelines. Here, we show that an unintended side-effect of arguments underpinning the implementation of HIIT in the domain of public health might have been the exacerbation of segmentation. To highlight the value of interdisciplinarity, four foundational claims in support of HIIT are critiqued by tapping into cognate literatures: (1) the primary reason people do not exercise is lack of time, (2) HIIT is relevant to public health, (3) HIIT is being proposed as merely another option, so there is no basis for controversy, and (4) HIIT is safe and well tolerated. These claims are contradicted by credible lines of evidence. To improve the accuracy and effectiveness of its public claims, kinesiology should remain committed to the ideals of integration and interdisciplinarity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102399
JournalPsychology of Sport and Exercise
Volume66
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2023

Keywords

  • Message confusion
  • Risk
  • Secondary ignorance
  • Time use
  • Vigorous physical activity

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