High-intensity interval training (HIIT), such as sprints, timed lap swimming and shuttle runs, has been a mainstay among athletes for more or less a century. Since 1999, however, HIIT continuously gained traction as casual exercisers caught wind of its numerous benefits, taking less total time to effect significant change being the most popular. But the advantages reach beyond time-efficiency and speedy results. Backed with years of research, it has become a well-known and potent method for bettering cardio respiratory fitness, and diminishing body fat levels.
Read on and discover the many benefits of HIIT.
- Cardiovascular health’s best friend. A study published in Sports Medicine suggested that 4 × 4 HIIT, 3 times a week for at least 12 weeks, is a potent exercise that enhances vascular function. This was based on a finding that HIIT improved brachial artery vascular function more efficiently than moderate-intensity continuous training. This can be attributed to HIIT’s tendency to positively influence cardio respiratory fitness, traditional cardiovascular disease risk factors, oxidative stress, inflammation, and insulin sensitivity. HIIT exercises the arteries and veins thereby increasing its elasticity and flexibility. Another study found that HIIT, rather than regular cardiovascular training, was safe and more tolerated by patients with coronary artery disease.
- Changing or mixing yield similar results. In a recent study, researchers found that those who cycled at intervals and those who did move intervals, like squats and lunges, had similar heart rate and maximum volume of oxygen. This means more flexibility in choosing HIIT workout sessions. Mixing up your workouts may just have a better effect than just repeating the same program over and over again.
- Time:Benefit bonus. HIIT is a good example where less is more. In 2012, the Norwegian HUNT study revealed that a single weekly session of high-intensity interval training lowered the risk of cardiovascular disease across genders. With this, HIIT may help sedentary people overcome their perceived lack of time, a major hindrance to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Another study published in the Journal of Psychology in 2013 confirmed that the same, if not greater, results can be obtained from HIIT in half the time of prolonged low-intensity workout.
- Endurance upper. Pick up the exercise’s pace even for a minute because a study published in PLos ONE revealed that even just a minute of HIIT can increase endurance and improve overall health as evidenced by better blood pressure.
- Burns calories beyond workout. “EPOC” or excess post exercise oxygen consumption, is the 2-hour period after an exercise session where the body is restoring itself to homeostasis, thus utilizing more energy. Because of HIIT workouts’ vigorous intermittent nature, the EPOC’s generally greater, adding approximately up to 15% more calories to the total energy burned.
- Amps up VO2 Max. A recent study revealed that VO2 max was increased in individuals who walked in intervals. Their body fat and mass was reduced. A single session of HIIT, improved glycemic level and decreased glucose level in diabetics.
So why is HIIT the hottest workout routine today?
Aside from the many benefits of HIIT on overall health and on time management, HIIT is also the favorite new exercise routine with exercises that are easily modifiable to suit each individual’s needs. HIIT’s versatility allows it to be performed on all exercise modes, including aqua training, cycling, elliptical cross-training, swimming, walking and in numerous group exercise classes.
The hottest HIIT workout routines are a fusion of HIIT and normal cardiovascular training which optimizes the improvement of cardio respiratory fitness among other health benefits. You can achieve virtually anything with properly programmed HIIT workouts – from muscle mass increase to cardiovascular fitness improvement. Give HIIT a try!
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