High Intensity Interval Training

23 Feb 2017

High Intensity Interval Training is a strategy that involves alternating short periods of intense exercise with less intense recovery periods.

The idea is that we do short periods of all-out work, followed by short periods of active rest to make the body work harder than it does during steady cardio exercise. An example might be 45 seconds of cycling as fast as possible followed by 15 seconds of simply pedalling without any resistance, repeated for 5 minutes.

There are many advantages to this type of work out:

No equipment is required

High Intensity Interval Training is simple enough to do at home with no equipment and can involve running jumping, skipping or press-ups.

Can be done anywhere

As HIIT is such a simple concept, you can adapt it to whatever time and space constraints you have.

Burns calories and fat in a shorter period of time

Studies show that 15 minutes of high intensity interval training burns more calories than jogging on a treadmill for an hour.

Helps build stamina

The Journal of Physiology, posted a study where people participated in HIIT for eight weeks and the results showed that they had doubled the length of time they could ride a bicycle while keeping the same pace.

Increased metabolism

The American College of Sports and Medicine has said that High Intensity Interval Training helps us consume more oxygen than a non-interval workout routine. The excess amount of oxygen consumed, helps increase our rate of metabolism after a session of interval training. Thus the increased metabolism helps burn more calories at a faster rate.

Good for heart health

It can be hard for most people to push themselves to the point where we lose our breath and feel our heart pounding faster and faster. With interval training it’s easier to get to that level because of the rest interval that comes immediately after. This helps keep a healthy heart and helps blood flow effectively throughout the whole body.

As with any form of intensive exercise, caution is advised working at a level we’re comfortable with. If any adverse side effects such as dizziness are experienced, stop and consult your doctor. There seems to be common acceptance that this form of exercise has potential to burn maximum calories in a minimum amount of time and to quickly increase overall fitness levels.

Finally, if there are any existing medical issues, it is important to consult a doctor before starting exercises like High Intensity Interval Training.

2 Responses to “High Intensity Interval Training”

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  1. Brad 23. Feb, 2017 at 3:22 pm #

    This is a great summary of the advantages of HIIT. I tried this form of exercise for a while but it aggravated my bad back so I had to stop and I didn’t do it long enough to see any obvious benefit.

    I downloaded a brilliant app to my iPad, which was an interval timer that was lone to my music collection and I had a HIIT playlist to give me some encouragement! I did research HIIT before I started it and all the reviews I read were extremely favourable.

    It is definitely worth a try, if you can find an exercise that you enjoy doing and doesn’t give you any problems.

    • Ilana 23. Feb, 2017 at 3:28 pm #

      Thank you. Yes, this isn’t for me either, given Cerebral Palsy; but I can see its advantages. High Intensity Interval Training also allows us to exercise in short sharp bursts, which is what most of us want.

      For anyone who hasn’t got staying power, then this type of exercise would definitely be for you. As you correctly say though, it’s not the best exercise if anyone has sporting injuries or are prone to muscle weakness.

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