These days we’re all so busy with work and other commitments that making time to hit the gym can seem like yet another demand on our scarce free time.
Well, the good news is that’s only if you’re planning on a traditional gym session which usually lasts for around an hour. If you would like to get all the benefits of a long workout but without a long workout then welcome to High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).
What is High-Intensity Interval Training?
As the name suggests, this type of exercise is fast, intense and is done in short sharp bursts. The high-intensity exercise can be done over 20 to 120 seconds and is combined with either a low-intensity workout or even a rest in between each repetition.
The typical duration of a (HIIT) session is usually anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes, and it usually involves four to six repetitions in one training session. Although some training sessions do last for half an hour.
Here are four benefits associated with high-intensity interval training.
1. It Burns Calories Faster
HIIT has been found to be more effective than other types of exercise when it comes to burning calories.
In one study researchers asked participants to do just 20 seconds of high-intensity exercise followed by 40 seconds of rest. They did this for 30 minutes and alternated the types of vigorous exercise.
The results showed that this type of training burns between 25 to 30 percent more calories than other workouts.
2. It speeds Up Weight-Loss
HIIT can help you to lose weight effectively even when there is no diet change.
One study showed that when overweight people engaged in 20 minutes of HIIT three times a week they lost on average 2kg of body fat over 12 weeks.
This is rather impressive considering that there was no diet change.
What’s more, the results suggest that if the sample continued with the HIIT, they could potentially lose 8kg of body fat in a year through exercise alone.
3. It Can Reduce Blood Pressure and Heart Rate
Any exercise that makes the heart pump faster is beneficial because it causes it to increase in size and become stronger.
Researchers noted that HIIT was even beneficial for people who are genetically susceptible to developing high blood pressure.
For the study, they selected candidates who have a family history of hypertension.
The researchers then got the group to do HIIT on a static exercise bike for 20-minute sessions, three times a week.
After eight weeks their blood pressure was lower than it was before they started HIIT training.
These results are encouraging because it shows that when there is an increased genetic risk of developing high blood pressure it can be counteracted through HIIT.
4. It Improves Insulin Resistance
Studies indicate that High-Intensity Interval Training is more effective than regular forms of exercise when it comes to improving insulin resistance.
This form of exercise has been shown to benefit those with or without diabetes and those at risk of developing it.
For those at risk of developing type 2, diabetes HIIT could well be life-changing because it could prevent them from going on to develop the disease.
A study that was published in Frontiers in Physiology noted that HIIT is an effective way of reducing people’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
The study showed that even those with higher insulin resistance can improve their blood sugar levels through HIIT.
A HIIT Exercise Routine that Works for You
If you would like to get started with High-Intensity Interval Training simply choose a high-impact exercise like running, cycling, skipping, etc. Then decide how long you are going to do the activity.
If you choose running you could run as fast as you can for 30 seconds then walk for two minutes before repeating. Aim to do your activity for around twenty minutes three times a week.
Once you have done a few sessions you may decide to choose a different activity and experiment with the duration of the HIIT.
A note of caution: While this form of exercise has many benefits, it may not be beneficial for everyone. So, if you have any health problems or just aren’t sure if it is right for you, then it is best to discuss it with your physician first.