The Benefits Of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
You may have heard of High Intensity Interval Training, or HIIT for short. It’s an incredibly popular way to workout. Lauded for its ability to yield big results for relatively short bouts of exercise, HIIT is all the rage, and rightly so.
A typical session consists of small bursts of high-intensity exercise (usually anywhere from 20 to 40 seconds) followed by low-intensity recovery periods. With the overall session lasting around 10 to 30 minutes.
This might not seem like much through the lens of an endurance athlete. But the evidence is mounting, and it seems that when it comes to HIIT, short really is sweet.
So here are 5 benefits of High Intensity Interval Training. Who knows, they might even make you think twice before going out on your next 10 mile run.
Fits around tight schedules. . .
To reap the benefits of High Intensity Interval Training, you only need to workout for a total of 10-20 minutes, three times a week. This is perfect for those who otherwise avoid exercise due to time constraints. Pencilling in three 20 minute sessions over the course of a week is much more conceivable than trying to fit in a big run every other day.
Plus, due to the heightened intensity of this style of training, you don’t need to devote huge amounts of time to it in order to see big results.
In a study focussing on healthy but sedentary individuals, it was found that just 1 minute of HIIT performed three times a week could improve blood sugar scores and aerobic capacity after just six weeks. So short, regular bursts of HIIT could prove effective even for the busiest people.
. . . and in tight spaces
A very convenient benefit of HIIT is the fact that it can be performed pretty much anywhere. There are lots of different HIIT sessions out there, designed to suit any fitness level and environmental obstacle. So whether you’re in a small bedroom or a back garden, you can make it work for your situation.
You can even try a low-impact HIIT session designed for hotel rooms. Which means, unfortunately, that a cramped B&B no longer serves as a valid excuse to skip a training day.
It may reduce blood pressure
Research is beginning to suggest that HIIT may be effective for reducing heart rate and blood pressure in obese individuals.
In one study, adults with high blood pressure performed HIIT on a stationary bike three days a week, for 20 minutes per session, over the course of eight weeks. At the end of the study it was found that the HIIT group’s blood pressure decreased as much as a second group who had been training for four days a week at 30 minutes per session.
It burns fat
High Intensity Interval Training is known for its fat-burning effects. And the reason it works so well is that it produces excess post-oxygen consumption (EPOC). Essentially, your body continues to burn calories for a longer period after a HIIT session.
In one study, from Houston’s Baylor College of Medicine, it was concluded that participants who performed HIIT on a stationary bicycle burned more calories in the following 24 hours than participants who cycled at a moderate and steady rate.
In other studies, out of Laval University and East Tennessee State University, researchers found that participants following a HIIT training programme lost more body fat than participants performing steady-state cardio for the same length of time.
So for anyone looking to burn more calories and, ultimately, lose more fat, HIIT could be a very effective option.
It provides variety
HIIT training exposes you to a huge array of exercises, targeting many different muscle groups. Full-body-burning burpees, ab-crunching crunches, shoulder-sculpting push-ups. They’re all there.
The diversity of this kind of workout ensures that your entire body feels the benefit. So it’s a very well-balanced way to stay fit. Plus, with all the variety of HIIT, you’ll be much less likely to grow bored in the long run.
Up the intensity
For some HIIT inspiration, take a look at these 6 plyometric exercises to fit into your next workout session. And don’t forget to stretch!