Benefits of HIIT:
HIIT may be as good for your health as regular exercise, but it takes less time because it helps you burn more calories and lower your body fat, heart rate, and blood pressure. It might even help lower blood sugar and make insulin work better.
Most people know that physical exercise is good for them, but one trusted source says that about 20% of people worldwide don’t get enough of it daily.
That number is closer to 80% in the US alone.
Unless you have a job that requires a lot of physical work, the best way to stay busy is probably to stick to a fitness routine.
But many people feel they don’t have enough time to work out.
If this sounds like you, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) might suit you.
“HIIT” is an umbrella term for workouts with short bursts of intense exercise followed by rest times.
One of the best things about HIIT is that it lets you get the most health benefits in the least amount of time.
This article explains the top 7 health benefits of HIIT.
- 1 What is HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training)?
- 2 Benefits of HIIT
- 3 How to Get Started with HIIT
- 4 Conclusion
What is HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training)?
HIIT consists of short bursts of intense exercise followed by times of less intense activity. Interestingly, it might be the best way to work out in terms of time.
A HIIT workout will usually last between 10 and 30 minutes.
Even though the workout is short, it can give you the same health benefits as doing twice as much moderate-intensity exercise.
The action can be anything from sprinting, biking, jumping rope, or other bodyweight exercises.
For example, a HIIT workout on a stationary bike could include 30 seconds of riding as fast as possible against high resistance, followed by several minutes of cycling slowly and quickly against low resistance.
This is one “round” or “repetition” of HIIT, and you would usually do 4–6 reps in a single workout.
How long you work out and how long you take to recover depends on the sport you choose and how hard you work out.
No matter how you use this approach, high-intensity intervals should involve short bursts of strenuous exercise that increase your heart rate.
HIIT gives you the benefits of longer-duration exercise in a much shorter time. It may also give you some health benefits that other types of training don’t.
Benefits of HIIT
1. HIIT burns many calories rapidly.
HIIT is an excellent way to burn calories fast.
One study examined how many calories were burned by HIIT, weight training, running, and biking for 30 minutes.
Researchers found that HIIT burned 25–30% more calories than other types of exercise.
In this study, a HIIT repetition was 20 seconds of all-out work followed by 40 seconds of rest.
This means the people only worked out one-third as long as those in the running and bike groups.
Even though each HIIT workout in this study was 30 minutes long, HIIT workouts are often much faster than traditional workouts.
This is because HIIT lets you burn about the same number of calories as other types of exercise while spending less time working out.
2. Your metabolism is increased for hours after doing HIIT.
One way that HIIT helps you burn calories is after you’re done working out.
Several studies have shown that HIIT is a great way to boost your metabolism for hours after exercise.
Some experts have even found that HIIT boosts your metabolism more than jogging or lifting weights after exercise.
The same study also found that HIIT could change the body’s metabolism so that fat instead of carbs is used for energy.
3. HIIT can help you lose fat
HIIT can help you lose fat, according to studies.
In one review, 13 experiments and 424 people who were overweight or obese were looked at.
It was interesting to find that HIIT and regular moderate-intensity exercise can help lower body fat and waist size.
Several other studies also show that HIIT can help lower body fat, even though it only takes a short amount of time.
But, like other types of exercise, HIIT may help people who are overweight or obese lose fat the most.
4. You might gain muscle using HIIT
HIIT could help some people gain muscle strength as well as lose fat.
But most of the muscle gain is in the parts of the body that are used the most, usually the back and legs.
Also, people who were less active to begin with are more likely to see a rise in muscle mass.
Some study on active people hasn’t been able to show that HIIT programs lead to more muscle mass.
Weight training is still the best way to build muscle mass, but high-speed intervals could help build some muscle.
5. HIIT can improve oxygen consumption
Air consumption is how much air your muscles can use. Most of the time, endurance training is used to increase how much air you can use.
Traditionally, this is done by running or riding steadily for long periods.
But HIIT can give you the same effects in less time.
In one study, people who did 20-minute HIIT workouts four times a week for five weeks could use 9% more oxygen.
This was almost the same as what happened to the other group in the study, whose oxygen use went up when they rode nonstop for 40 minutes daily, four days a week.
Another study found that after eight weeks of standard or HIIT exercise on a stationary bike, oxygen consumption went up by about 25 percent.
Again, the overall amount of time spent exercising differed significantly between the two groups. Traditional exercise took 120 minutes per week, while HIIT took only 60 minutes per week.
More studies have also shown that HIIT can increase the amount of oxygen your body uses.
6. HIIT lowers Heart Rate and BP.
HIIT may also be good for your health in important ways.
Many studies show that it can lower the heart rate and blood pressure of people who are overweight or obese, who often have high blood pressure.
One study found that people with high blood pressure lowered their blood pressure just as much with eight weeks of HIIT on a stationary bike as with traditional, continuous endurance training.
In this study, the endurance training group worked out four times a week for 30 minutes, while the HIIT group only worked out thrice for 20 minutes.
Some experts have found that HIIT may lower blood pressure even more than the recommended moderate-intensity exercise.
However, people with normal blood pressure and a “normal” BMI don’t usually drop their blood pressure when they do high-intensity exercise.
7. HIIT can reduce blood sugar
Blood sugar can go down with HIIT routines that last less than 12 weeks.
A summary of 50 studies found that HIIT lowers blood sugar and improves insulin resistance more than standard continuous exercise.
Based on this knowledge, people at risk for type 2 diabetes may benefit more from high-intensity exercise.
HIIT has been shown to lower blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes.
However, studies on healthy people show that HIIT may improve insulin resistance even more than traditional continuous exercise.
How to Get Started with HIIT
High-energy intervals are easy to start doing because there are many ways.
It would be best to decide what you want to do (run, bike, jump rope, etc.) to get started.
Then you can try different lengths of exercise and rest, or how long you spend doing strenuous training and how long you spend resting.
You can make your killer HIIT exercise with the help of the following tips:
- Choose a modality you’re already comfortable with and do it less complex. For example, don’t run hard if you haven’t been walking in a while.
- If you have joint pain, start with something like riding or swimming that doesn’t put as much stress on your joints.
- Take breaks that are long enough. You can only keep the energy high enough for HIIT if your rest periods are the same length or longer than your work periods.
- Keep breaks from work to less than 30 seconds. Keeping up the effort needed to count as HIIT for more than 30 seconds will be hard.
- Start by doing only a few rounds twice a week. HIIT exercise is a lot of work, especially when you do higher-impact modes. It would be best if you gave yourself enough time off between training sessions to avoid injuries.
Here are some easy ways to do HIIT workouts:
- For 30 seconds, spin on a stationary bike as hard and fast as possible. Then, ride for 2–4 minutes at a slow, easy speed. Do this over and over for 15–30 minutes.
- After you’ve warmed up by running, run as fast as you can for 15 seconds. Then, walk or jog slowly for a minute or two. Do this over and over for 10–20 minutes.
- Do as many squat jumps as you can in 30–90 seconds as fast as you can. Then, either stand or walk for 30–90 seconds. Do this over and over for 10–20 minutes.
These examples can help you start, but you can change your practice to fit your needs.
High-intensity interval training is a very effective way to work out, and it may help you burn more calories than other types of exercise.
Some calories burned during high-energy intervals come from a higher metabolism that lasts hours after the workout.
HIIT has many of the same health benefits as other types of exercise, but it takes less time.
Some of these perks are that body fat, heart rate, and blood pressure are all godown. HIIT may also help reduce blood sugar and make the body more sensitive to insulin.
So, if you don’t have much time but still want to work out, you might want to try high-intensity interval training.