What is High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and what are its benefits?
High intensity interval training or HIIT, is the term used to describe any form of exercise that alternates between very intense bursts of physical activity and periods of very light activity, or periods of complete rest. For example, one minute of intense running is followed by one minute of walking, and you repeat these alternations for about 15-25 minutes. It is thought to be one the most effective styles of workouts for weight loss and it is also used as a training regime for many sports. One simple example of high intensity interval training would be running as fast you can for one minute and then, walking for the next two minutes. Here are ten of the many benefits that high intensity interval training has to offer:
1. You can do high intensity interval training anywhere
One of the greatest things about HIIT is that you can do it anywhere and you don’t need any special equipment. Any form of exercise will do the trick, just put maximum effort in, for a short period of time, rest for a short period and repeat.
2. High intensity interval training increases your metabolic rate
HIIT stimulates the production of the human growth hormone (HGH) by over 400% for up to 24 or even 48 hours after your workout. This not only helps you burn fat for longer, but it also helps to slow down the aging process!
3. You lose weight, not muscle
When you do steady cardio work, you can lose muscle mass, as well as fat. High intensity interval training, on the other hand, helps you to lose fat from the fat stores far more, than it affects the muscles.
4. High intensity interval training improves your athletic performance
HIIT has been proven to dramatically improve your VO2max, which is the maximum amount of oxygen that your body can utilize for energy during endurance activities. These improvements can occur after only a small amount of high intensity interval training.
5. High intensity interval training improves your insulin sensitivity
Research has shown that HIIT can significantly increase insulin sensitivity in just two weeks. It is this low insulin sensitivity, or insulin resistance, that is associated with type 2 diabetes.
6. High intensity interval training is a very time efficient form of exercise
As well as bringing all the benefits that most people want from a workout, HIIT is also a very convenient form of exercise for anyone who is limited by time, and who isn’t these days?! HIIT workouts need only to last for just around 5 minutes up to 25 minutes, so anyone can fit a workout into their daily schedule.
7. You get more benefit, for less stress on your body
Short, intense workouts put a lot less stress on your body, than an extended cardio workout. Imagine the stress that you put on your body, pounding the streets for an hour, compared to the reduced stress of high intensity exercise for just ten minutes and, overall, you still get the same benefit from it!
8. More gain, for less pain
It takes a lot more effort to push yourself to the heart pounding, short of breath, anaerobic zone that is a real benefit to your heart doing steady cardio, than it does doing short bursts of the intensive training that HIIT does. It still has the same effect though, and a study conducted found that, after just eight weeks of HIIT training, subjects could ride a bicycle for twice as long, as before they started the training.
9. High intensity interval training enhances performance in most sports
HIIT can be used to enhance your performance in many different sports. Running, cycling, swimming or any other aerobic sport, high intensity interval training, will help to build the muscular strength and stamina to enable you to compete tasks more effectively.
10. High intensity interval training is a challenge
HIIT is not something that you can do, while reading book or making light conversation with a friend. This is something that will give you immense benefits, from working extremely hard, for short periods of time. But, then, that is all part of the fun. It is a challenge, and it will be worth it!
What are other benefits of high intensity interval training? Feel free to share your thoughts and tips on the comment section below.