What Is HIIT & Why Is It So Good for You?
Learn why the HIIT fitness trend is so popular – & so effective and good for your health!
In case you haven’t heard, High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is just about the hottest fitness trend around these days. If you are wondering what the buzz is all about, you’re in the right place! Today we will break down the ins and outs of this modern take on an age-old form of exercise, and just why it’s so good for you.
First of all, HIIT refers to little spurts of continuous high and low-intensity cardiovascular exercises that get done for specific intervals of time. The whole training session should last for less than 20 minutes, which makes HIIT particularly appealing in today’s busy modern life.
What HIIT Exercise Entails
Running is a common form of exercise used in high-intensity interval training workouts because you can do it anywhere, with no equipment, but you can also do just about any calisthenic or aerobic exercise, including jumping jacks, burpees, jumping rope, climbing stairs, bicycling, and lots more, so you never have to get bored doing the same exercises all the time.
A typical HIIT exercise session includes warming up for 3 to 4 minutes, followed by an active interval of sprinting hard (or doing whatever exercise you’re doing) for 30 seconds at the very fastest/most intense level you can achieve. After that, you do 60 to 90 seconds of walking or light jogging (or light exercise) to recover. This is what is termed the rest interval. Once that is completed, you would then repeat these intervals roughly 6 to 10 times, depending upon your fitness level, before completing the workout with a cool down lasting between 3 to 4 minutes.
Research has shown that HIIT has benefits that last much longer than most other forms of cardio exercise, including long distance running. One study even found that 2.5 hours per week of rigorous high-intensity interval training offers the same benefits as 10.5 hours of long distance training! (Check out this article for more on the scientific research that’s being done on this style of exercise.)
This type of exercise also has significant benefits for your metabolism. When compared to doing cardio at a steady pace, you will burn more fat in less time with HIIT, and will keep burning fat for much longer after your workout is finished.
HIIT Improves Endurance and Stamina
Another benefit of HIIT exercise is that it can significantly improve your endurance and stamina. Your VO2 max is the maximum amount of energy that you can expend during a session of exercise, and HIIT drastically increases your VO2 peak, which offers you the ability to perform many different types of activities for longer periods of time. If you have a hard time running on the treadmill for more than 5 minutes at a time, you should see a major improvement after doing some high-intensity interval training.
HIIT is Fun!
Lastly, my favorite benefit of HIIT exercise… 🙂 It helps to breaks the boredom of regular even-paced cardio workouts! Many people have a hard time making themselves work out regularly because for many of us, doing the same thing over and over again can get boring. With HIIT, you’ll be spending a lot less time exercising – plus, the different intervals make things a lot more interesting and your workout goes by faster. Because you are focusing on pushing yourself hard through the active intervals, the workout is over before you know it!
No matter what your purpose is for working out, high-intensity interval training can be a great form of exercise for achieving your fitness goals – and it’s the perfect type of exercise for the busy holiday season! Be sure to check back here every Wednesday this month for some fast, fun, and effective HIIT workouts that you can do at home in just a few minutes!
(Note: Be sure to consult your doctor before beginning any form of high-intensity exercise, especially if you are at a low fitness level.)