Interval Training (HIIT)
A new trend is on the rise in the world of exercise fitness
and that is High-Intensity Interval Training or HIIT for short. The popularity
is largely due to the flexibility of the program though it has been seen to
provide many other benefits as well.
What is it?
HIIT involve doing bouts of intense work periods followed by
an equal time of recovery. Typically exercises are performed at 80-95% of a
person’s estimated maximum heart rate anywhere from 5 seconds to 8 minutes
long. The recovery periods can then involve doing the same or similar workout
but at an intensity of 40-50% of the estimated maximum heart rate. A workout
can last somewhere between 20-60 minutes.
What are the
HIIT training has been shown to help improve:
- Heart and Lung health
- Blood pressure
- Insulin sensitivity
- Body weight and body composition
Why is it
The number one benefit of HIIT over other exercise programs
is that it can be easily modified for people of all ages, fitness levels, and
those with conditions such as diabetes. HIIT workouts also work great with all
types of exercise whether you prefer cycling, running on treadmill, or going to
group exercise classes. Another big plus to HIIT workouts is that they have been
found to burn more calories than traditional workouts would. This is partially
due to the post exercise period where the body is using additional calories to
restore itself to pre-exercise levels. The high intensity nature of HIIT
workouts leads to larger energy demands during this post exercise period which
means more calories burned.
Someone who has a sedentary lifestyle, family history risk,
is a smoker, or has conditions such as diabetes or hypertension may be at an
increased risk of coronary disease with high intensity exercise. Because of
this, it is very important to talk to your physician and make sure you are
clear to start a new exercise program. It is also important to modify the
intensities to your own abilities and try to gradually increase at a pace that
feels comfortable to you.
For more information and
ideas on how to start HIIT view the brochure by the American College of Sports
Reprinted with permission of
the American College of Sports Medicine. Copyright © 2014 American College of