Since the 18th century, interval training has been used within athletes for better results. However, the High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is becoming more and more popular for those who are easily bored with a workout routine and especially for those who have no time to waste.
In a simple way, HIIT consists of a sequel of workout exercises that involves several intervals – usually of high-intensity to low-intensity, within a short period of time. For example, you can cycle for 45 to 60 seconds at a high-intensity resistance level and then 45 to 60 seconds at a low-intensity resistance level.
HIIT has been seen as the best way to lose fat without wasting time. It is about pushing your limits and giving your body just enough time to recover before the next session.
Many people are adopting HIIT as their favourite training as it is an easy way to get the weekly workout done _besides, it is also possible to do HIIT at home, without any use of equipment or expenses at the gym. You can find different HIIT plans that involve basic exercises such as butt kicks, jump squats, forearm plank and others, and more intensive ones with cycling, climbing and others.
Taking into consideration all of these observations about HIIT, it is important to note that is not a training developed for people that want to create a routine or to get ready to practice a certain type of sport (for example football and basketball). It is made for people that are already used to a training routine and that are able to keep up with the intensity of the workout. If you decide to go for a HIIT plan, look for advice from an instructor and develop one that may help you reach your goals.
In order to clarify what HIIT really means, below you can find the main benefits and disadvantages about this:
It is not only about the time spent in exercising, but also about the physical benefits that the HIIT can bring.
A study published at the Journal of Sports Sciences in 2017 pointed out that people that worked out with HIIT for eight weeks “had doubled the length of time they could ride a bicycle while keeping the same pace”.
Burning more calories
Due to the way that HIIT uses body energy it also increases your metabolism. As a consequence, it also burns calories in a shorter period of time. It is stated that 15 minutes of HIIT burns the same amount of calories than 1 hour on a treadmill.
One of the main focus is heart health. When pushing your body to the limit and then giving it time to recovery, you also help the blood to flow effectively throughout your whole body.
People diagnosed with high blood pressure and high blood sugar may be benefited by HIIT, as it can help decreased both when developed a plan with the correct instruction.
HIIT Mental Benefits
It is a known fact that exercising can help our body produces hormones that can decrease the risk of depression, anxiety and stress. HIIT mental benefits are no different. While doing a workout session you produce those hormones. Recently a study from the University of Alabama suggested that HIIT can even improve the motor functions and quality of life of people that struggle with Parkinson.
HIIT pushes your limits and, psychologically, provides a sense of accomplishment and empowerment, which is a self-esteem boost!
Disadvantages of HIIT
With a high-intensity workout series, it comes a high chance of getting injured. Recent studies presented at the 2018 American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) Annual Meeting stated that any more than 30 to 40 minutes of HIIT “in a maximum training zone per week can reduce performance and potentially result in a greater risk of injury”.
It is important to remember that the intervals may result in a long time for you to recover from your workout session.
How can I try HIIT?
As we have pointed out, HIIT should only be practised by people that already have a physically active lifestyle.
A few simple exercises may give you the taste of what HIIT can feel like. For example, by warming-up with a walk and then sprinting as fast as you can for 15 seconds and then walking for 1 minute. This pattern can be repeated for 10 to 20 minutes.
HIIT can be seen just as a fast way of losing fat as your body still burns calories for hours after the workout is done. But above it all, it can be beneficial mainly for people that are looking for ways of improving the heart health, body strength and confidence, as it is an intensive way of pushing yourself to your limits and feel empowered!