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High-intensity interval training (HIIT), also called high-intensity intermittent exercise (HIIE) or sprint interval training (SIT), is a form of interval training – a cardiovascular exercise program alternating short periods of intense anaerobic exercise with less intense recovery periods until too exhausted to continue. Though there is no universal HIIT session duration, these intense workouts usually last under thirty minutes, with times varying based on a participant’s current fitness level. High-intensity and interval training has gained much recognition in the scientific and clinical establishments and the popular press for its ability to robustly improve various aspects of cardiometabolic health
High-intensity interval training is not designed for everyone. If you’re training for a specific objective or goal, you might want to consider the suitable training program—and interval training may or may not be a part of that routine. Due to the intensity level involved, it is best to always check in with your doctor before starting HIIT, as with any exercise program.
Below are some of the benefits of high-intensity interval training, and they include
Strengthens the muscles of the heart
High-intensity interval training has shown to be beneficial to the cardiovascular system. Increased workout leads to increase force of contraction of the heart, leading to better blood circulation
Ideal for diabetics
Recent research has shown that high-intensity and interval training can help control blood sugar level in type 2 diabetics better than continuous. A single round of exercise raises insulin sensitivity for up to 48 hours into recovery, and this is accompanied by the better glycemic control in patients diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
There is accumulating evidence supporting the potential cardiometabolic benefits of high-intensity and interval training in people with type 2 diabetes or prediabetes. However, it should be noted that most studies reviewing this type of exercise have involved a small group of people and have been relatively short in duration. More research is needed to evaluate the safety and efficacy of interval training before widespread advocacy, but for individuals who are cleared for vigorous exercise participation, high-intensity interval training may be a valuable addition to a health-enhancing exercise program
Raises the body basal metabolic rate
In addition to increased fat burning and more muscle preserved, high-intensity interval training stimulates the release of your human growth hormone (HGH) by up to 450 percent during the 24 hours after you finish your workout. This is great news since HGH is not only responsible for the increased basal metabolic rate but also slows down the aging process, making you younger both inside and out!
Burns more fat and no muscle
One of the challenges of being on a strict been diet in order to lose weight is that it is hard to not lose muscle mass along with fat. While steady state cardio seems to encourage muscle loss, research has shown that both weight training and high-intensity interval training workouts allow dieters to preserve their hard-earned muscles while ensuring most of the weight loss comes from fat depots. Research shows that intervals can repair your metabolism by reducing inflammation, allowing the body to improve its ability to use and burn energy,” says Thurman
No Gym or Equipment is needed
Activities like running, bike riding, jumping rope, and rowing are all ideal for high-intensity interval training and do not require any equipment to get it done. High knees, fast feet, or anything plyometric like jumping lunges work just as well to speed up your heart rate.
In fact, sometimes equipment can make HIIT less effective because you want the focus to be on pushing your heart to its max, not just any one muscle group.
If you have been diagnosed with heart disease or high blood pressure, speak to your physician before beginning interval training or any other new exercise program—especially if you’ve been relatively inactive until that time.
Helps to improve brain function
Quick rounds of exercise can have positive impacts, like boosting short-term working memory needed for learning and to complete everyday tasks. It may also help to improve brain activity, enhance memory, improve mental health and possibly slow cognitive decline and protect against dementia.
Is high-intensity interval training safe?
Just like any other exercise. there are risks as well as a benefit to doing any form of exercise and high-intensity interval training is no exception. The evidence, however, points overwhelmingly to the fact that the risks of not engaging in any exercise greatly outweigh the risks of doing it.
HIIT is a very strenuous workout, so the risk of injury is high especially for beginners and people who are not physically fit. For beginners, the key is to start gradually and approach the workout at their own pace. Improper form is the number one cause of injuries in beginners. The amateurs will not focus on proper form and technique first, which results in injuries that could have been avoided. While form issues can occur with any type of workout, the intensity of interval training makes it more likely.
Inadequate warm-up and preparation is another reason for injuries. Without an adequate warm-up, the core muscle group are not fully activated and accustomed to high intensity workout. Individuals who are just getting back into fitness should acclimatize themselves first to a baseline level of both cardio and strength training prior to jumping into high-intensity training.
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G, F. (2017). A Role for High Intensity Interval Training (Hiit) for Improving Cardiometabolic Health Outcomes. Obesity: Open Access, 2(2). doi: 10.16966/2380-5528.e107
Gibala, M. (2018). Interval Training for Cardiometabolic Health. Current Sports Medicine Reports, 17(5), 148-150. doi: 10.1249/jsr.0000000000000483
Pearson, S. (2015). High Intensity Interval Training Vs Moderate Intensity Continuous Training in the Management of Metabolic Type Disease. MOJ Anatomy & Physiology, 1(5). doi: 10.15406/mojap.2015.01.00027
Scarpa, S. (2018). Effects of continuous exercise training at aerobic threshold on ventilation inefficiency in chronic heart failure. Health Education And Care, 3(1). doi: 10.15761/hec.1000135
Schoenfeld, B., & Dawes, J. (2009). High-Intensity Interval Training: Applications for General Fitness Training. Strength And Conditioning Journal, 31(6), 44-46. doi: 10.1519/ssc.0b013e3181c2a844
Shaw, I., Shaw, B., & Brown, G. (2009). Resistance training and predicted risk of coronary heart disease in sedentary males. African Journal For Physical, Health Education, Recreation And Dance, 15(4). doi: 10.4314/ajpherd.v15i4.47294