The Numerous Benefits of HIIT(High Intensity Interval Training)

I’m sure you’ve heard of HIIT but if you haven’t you may want to pay attention.

HIIT refers to High Intensity Interval Training where you alternate between periods of high intensity with periods of low intensity.

An example of an HIIT workout would be doing 20 second sprints followed by slow jogging or walking for 1 to 2 minutes.

But there is no set time for performing an HIIT interval and recovering from that interval.  A lot of it depends on the individual’s level of fitness.

So maybe for someone who is a beginner to exercise or is less fit they would alternate 3 min. of fast walking with 3 min. of  slower walking.

The possibilities of creating an HIIT workout are endless.  You can do HIIT running sprints, cycling, jumping rope, performing body weight exercises, and like I mentioned above fast walking.

Really you can apply HIIT to any type of exercise.150829142141-usain-bolt-4x100-exlarge-169

And the benefits to doing HIIT are numerous:

  1. Since HIIT workouts are intense they don’t require a lot time which is great for people who are busy and don’t want to spend their life working out.  You can get a great HIIT workout in anywhere from 10-20 minutes.
  2. It’s extremely effective for fat loss.  “According to the American College of Sports Medicine,6 HIIT workouts tend to burn anywhere from 6 to 15 percent more calories compared to other workouts.”(1)
  3. HIIT improves both aerobic and anaerobic fitness whereas steady state cardio only improves aerobic fitness.
  4. It greatly improves glucose tolerance. This is important because “normalizing your glucose and insulin levels is one of the most important benefits of exercise, considering the fact that insulin resistance is a factor in most chronic disease, including diabetes and heart disease.”(1)
  5. It triggers the production of HGH or Human Growth Hormone. “Your production of vital HGH can increase by as much as 770 percent during a high-intensity interval workout because it stimulates your fast twitch muscle fibers, which are rarely used during most exercise programs.  And the higher your levels of HGH, the healthier, stronger, and fitter you’ll be.”(1)

A recent study was performed by Martin Gibala, “a professor of kinesiology at McMaster University in Ontario. He and his colleagues have conducted many of the most influential recent studies of high intensity interval training, and many of the scientists there regularly exercise with interval training.”(3)

The study consisted of a group of 14 men and women who were sedentary, and overweight but for the most part healthy.

These volunteers had biopsies of their muscles taken and the researchers measured their
• Aerobic endurance
• Blood pressure
• Blood sugar levels

The study lasted six weeks where the volunteers completed 3 interval training sessions a week for a total of 30 min. each week.

Each interval training session only lasted 10 min. with the volunteers using a computerized stationary bicycle.

Here’s how each workout looked:
• Warm-up for 2 min.                    • Pedal slowly for 2 min.
• Pedal all-out for 20 sec.             • Pedal slowly for 2 min.
• Pedal all-out for 20 sec.             • Pedal slowly for 2 min.
• Pedal all-out for 20 sec.             • Pedal slowly for 2 min.
• Cool-Down for 3 min.

After the six weeks the volunteers were retested and “the men and women had increased their endurance capacity by an average of 12 percent, a significant improvement. They also, as a group, had healthier blood pressures and higher levels within their muscles of certain biochemical substances that increase the number and activity of mitochondria. Mitochondria are the energy powerhouses of cells, so more mitochondria mean better endurance and fitness.”(3)

As you can see HIIT workouts have numerous benefits but you have to be careful doing them.

Since they are taxing on your body you probably don’t want to do more than one or two a week.

And be sure to give yourself at least one day of rest between workouts if not more.

Always check with your doctor or physician before beginning any exercise program. This is especially important if you are a beginner or have any medical concerns.

Sources:

  1. “High-Intensity Interval Training Workout Benefits.” Mercola.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Aug. 2016.
  2. https://greatist.com/fitness/complete-guide-interval-training-infographic
  3. https://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/12/10/one-minute-workout/?_r=1

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