What is HIIT?
To those of you who don’t know, HIIT is an acronym for High Intensity Interval Training, which is basically a combination of short periods of high intensity exercises spaced out with short breaks of low-intensity exercises in-between.
Due to the intensity of this form of exercise, a usual HIIT session will last for a maximum period of 30mins. Recent data collected has shown that HIIT has apparent advantage of burning more calories than regular exercise in the same amount of time. So this form of exercise is good for busy people who do not have much time to spend on their fitness.
Who can do HIIT?
Trainers recommend HIIT for people who are already exercising on a regular basis and have relatively good fitness levels, due to the high levels of stress placed on the person in short bursts of time.
People who are used to slower paced or relaxing exercises like yoga and Pilates, are encouraged to build up their cardio levels, ie, get used to exercising at a faster pace, before considering HIIT. This can be done quite simply by picking up the pace while on a treadmill or exercise bike, or even in your current routine.
It is important to have relatively higher cardio and strength levels to be able to cope with intensity of this program, and of course, to prevent injury as the exercises are done with speed in mind. There have been cases of people fainting or throwing up in the middle of a HIIT session, because their bodies could not cope with the sudden stress of high intensity.
Benefits of doing HIIT
As the name implies, high intensity is involved in all HIIT exercise programs. Despite the relatively short workout time, HIIT has been shown to produce the same effects as regular or moderate exercise in the same time span. Busy executives to housewives who have fairly good cardio and strength levels can participate in HIIT, since the workout sessions are kept relatively short.
Exercises include sprinting, jumping, and incorporate the use of your bodyweight, and other ordinary gym equipment. They are mostly resistance based exercises, ie, using an exercise bike to cycle as fast as possible with an increased resistance setting, or using a rowing machine with the same principle in mind, for a period of 30 seconds, and then lower the pace for 2 to 4 minutes. This is considered one set, and one normally does 3 to 4 sets of one exercise, before moving on to the next exercise, with a total of 4 to 5 exercises per workout session.
Alternatively, you can do one set of 4 or 5 exercises in a row, rest 2 to 4 minutes, and repeat the whole set 3 or 4 times.
You can incorporate any of your favorite exercises into a HIIT workout session. You just have to step up the pace, eg, if you usually take 5 minutes to do 10 pushups, try to work up to 15 to 20 pushups done in the same amount of time.
It has been shown that HIIT increases your level of metabolism. In other words, your body continues to burn calories hours after a workout session. Hence HIIT has been found to be a good and effective way to lose weight!
HIIT also improves your blood circulation, as the heart must pump harder to supply oxygen to your muscles. This is why trainers emphasize the importance of preparing your body with cardio exercises beforehand, ie, your heart must be trained to work harder as a sudden forceful move may cause your heart to falter and you may black out.
To sum things up, here are the common benefits from doing HIIT and why this form of exercise is becoming more popular:
- HIIT is a good form of exercise for a busy individual who wants to keep fit without spending hours at a gym.
- A person will burn more calories in the long run because one’s rate of metabolism remains high for a longer period, meaning you continue to burn calories for a few hours after your HIIT workout session. An added plus point is weight loss associated with more calories burned.
- HIIT does promote muscle mass, but this is normally evident in people who did not have muscle mass to begin with.
- Your blood circulation will improve due to high intensity and speed which the exercises are done, which in turn also strengthens your heart and lowers your resting heart rate.
- People who do HIIT on a continuous basis have found a noticeable decrease in their blood pressure and blood sugar.
So, if you do have good cardio and strength levels, head over to your gym and try out a HIIT workout session. Who knows, you may find this is the form of exercise you have been looking for.
22nd April 2020 22:28
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