The Benefits of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT Training)
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) refers to any form of exercise which combines intense movement and activities with periods of little to no activity in between. A simple example of HIIT may be sprinting for a minute and then walking for a short period and repeating this cycle for a set period of time. HIIT is a popular form for working out among many fitness lovers for a number of reasons including:
HIIT Burns More Fat than Steady State Cardio
Unlike steady-state cardio, where the body gradually builds up heat and starts the fat burning process, the intensity of HIIT training pushes your body into repair mode after finishing the workout. After a full HIIT session, your body will continue burning fat for the next 24 hours since it keeps your metabolism active for quite some time. This means that even after your workout, your body will continue burning calories throughout the day.
HIIT Preserves Your Muscles
With many fitness regimens, especially those involving dietary changes, many people fear losing muscle mass, not just fat. The good news about HIIT, especially if it incorporates weight training, is that it will help you keep all those toned muscles as you burn fat.
HIIT is Less Time Consuming
The number one excuse most people have for not working out is the fact that they don’t have enough time. HIIT is the kind of workout that can be fit into even the tightest schedule and will still be effective. Not to mention that it doesn’t necessarily require any equipment, so you can do it anywhere, from your house to your backyard. This means that even if you can squeeze in a little time every day, you can perform a quick and effective workout. It also applies to when you’re traveling, if you’re snowed in, and so on.
Studies have shown that even 30 minutes of HIIT can burn over 25% more calories than other forms of exercise. Within 14 days of your HIIT regimen, you’ll notice increased stamina and agility in your body. Even a short workout that lasts around 10 minutes with short bursts of intense movement followed by a few seconds of rest has been proven to be effective.
HIIT Keeps You Focused
HIIT workouts are not the kind of exercise where you can talk to your gym buddies or incorporate a quick phone call in between. They require your full attention to focus on maintaining the right posture in your movement and completing the exercise in the set time. Since you’re not likely to get bored, you’ll be motivated for round two the next day.
HIIT Makes You Stronger
While pretty much any form of exercise is designed to make you stronger, HIIT has a number of health benefits, including building heart strength and maintaining a regular blood pressure. Many overweight people suffer from problems like high blood pressure, among many others, but when focusing solely on the high blood pressure, HIIT is a possible solution to regulate and lower their blood pressure.
Apart from that, it also reduces blood sugar levels and boosts insulin resistance and is considered to be an effective form of exercise, particularly for people with type-2 diabetes (or those at risk of type-2 diabetes).
HIIT Improves Your Mental & Emotional Health
The intense burst of energy used up in HIIT workouts increases the body’s production of chemicals like serotonin, dopamine and adrenaline. Mental disturbances and illnesses like depression and schizophrenia have been linked to a deficiency of dopamine and serotonin in the body. Regular HIIT workouts can improve your mood and emotional health in the long run.
HIIT workouts can be customized to suit your fitness level, what equipment you have access to, and what activities you enjoy (such as bicycling, jump rope, etc.). They push you to the point where you’re panting and gasping for air, which in the long run, makes your heart stronger as well. HIIT workouts are a great way of keeping your body lean, fit, and healthy, especially if they are combined with the right diet.
Studies have shown that even a short 15-20 minute HIIT workout completed a few times a week can be effective in weight loss which is particularly helpful for people who are overweight, obese, and at the point where their bodyweight has become a health risk. One of the best things about HIIT is that these workouts can be designed to suit beginners, intermediates and fitness gurus and are a sustainable form of physical and mental fitness.
Written By: Elevate Founders, Jillian Salomone and Paul Salomone