Did you know that almost a third of the people in the world probably do not get enough physical exercise? With fewer and fewer jobs involving much in the way of physical activity, more and more people are working in sedentary fields where they spend much of their day sitting. That means that, in order to get enough physical activity, you need a set routine for exercise. However, with people working longer and longer hours, many people believe that they do not have the time that they need to fit that sort of plan into their schedules. Are you in the same situation? Then perhaps it is time that you tried high intensity interval training, also known as HIIT.
HIIT is a fairly broad category for any sort of workout that mixes short intervals of intense levels of exercise with recovery periods, alternating back and forth. One of the benefits of HIIT is that you can get a more rigorous workout in a shorter amount of time. Take a look at our overview of HIIT along with five reasons why HIIT helps so many people get the exercise they need.
Most HIIT workouts range from 10 to 30 minutes in length. You will start with a quick warm-up, followed by alternating periods of exercise at high intensity and recovery periods. One example might have you riding a stationary bicycle for five minutes to warm up, with some short bursts of effort, and then you might move into alternating intervals of 30 seconds of cycling at maximum speed against high resistance with intervals of 60 seconds of slow cycling against low resistance. These 90 seconds would comprise one “round,” and you might complete anywhere between four and twelve rounds before completing your cool-down, again perhaps three to five minutes at low resistance.
Here are some benefits of HIIT for your health.
1. HIIT exercises burn a lot of calories in a small period of time. Researchers have found that HIIT burns between 25 and 30 percent more calories than sustained periods of effort that run between the high intensity and recovery levels. So if you do a HIIT workout for 30 minutes and burn 400 calories, a sustained workout at a lower level would burn about 300 calories. However, the HIIT workout in the study had a 1:2 ratio of intense work time to recovery time, which means that the HIIT exercise burned more calories in a significantly less amount of time.
2. HIIT exercise keeps your metabolic level higher after you are done. Research has shown that HIIT exercise keeps your metabolism churning at a higher level for hours after you have gone home from the gym, significantly more than jogging for extended periods of time or lifting weights. This does not mean that weight training is not important; it just means that weight training should just be a part of your workout plan.
3. HIIT exercises can help you boost testosterone and HGH levels, especially in comparison to sustained exercise at lower levels of intensity. The alternation between high intensity and recovery can make your testosterone levels go up, giving you more energy in a number of areas while helping you reduce belly fat and gain libido. You can read more about interval training and how it helps boost your testosterone and HGH levels from different sources online in order to learn more about the ways in which HIIT exercise can amp up your life.
4. HIIT workouts can also help you gain muscle — primarily in the trunk and legs because those are the parts of the body working the hardest. The benefits are particularly noticeable for people who were more sedentary in the first place.
5. HIIT can cut your blood pressure and heart rate. For overweight and obese individuals, eight weeks of HIIT training on a stationary cycle, in one study, cut blood pressure for at-risk patients as much as longer periods of continuous training at a lower intensity level. Specifically, the HIIT group did three workouts per week, 20 minutes per workout, while the endurance group exercised four times per week, 30 minutes per workout. That means that the HIIT group had the same gains in half the time.
For people with busy lifestyles, HIIT training can make a major difference not just in their health, but in their quality of life. Before you start any training program, you should visit with your doctor to make sure that you do not have any health conditions that could make exercise a risk. Once you are clear, though, find ways to add HIIT training to your lifestyle!