What is High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and Why it is Good For You?
Posted on August 04 2015
It seems like what we all are lacking in these days is TIME! What with our busy schedules whether it’s the job, taking care of the kids, housework or preparing for a social event we have a hard time fitting in a regular exercise routine that we can stick to. A fitness trend that took the health-minded community by storm last year and is geared to those of us who do NOT have a large window of time to exercise in, was the “High Intensity Interval Training” workouts.
HIIT consists of short, intense bursts of exercise with either active recovery (like less intense exercise) or complete rest in between. Cardio workouts and strength routines both qualify—they can both get your heart pumping AND fire up your metabolism thanks to the phenomenon known as after-burn. You can get a super effective workout in 20 minutes or less—even in as few as 4 minutes.
When you turn up the intensity on your workout, as high-intensity interval training does, you’re making your heart work harder and since this muscle (like most) becomes stronger after putting it through tough training, this workout is very beneficial for your heart health.
You might not think that it’s possible to squeeze a solid strength-training session and a calorie-torching cardio workout into a quick routine, but you would be wrong. With HIIT, you’re pushing yourself as hard as you can go to accomplish as many reps as possible. That butt busting earns you cardiovascular benefits as well. By incorporating strength-training exercises into your intervals (as well as cardio moves), you also reap muscle-strengthening benefits
A new study published in the journal “Diabetologia” suggests that this kind of training can help control blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes better than continuous exercise. So this is an additional plus in adopting this high intensity workout.
When you do a “sustainable” exercise, like going on a long run, your body uses less oxygen than when you push yourself to the max, as you do during a HIIT workout. And when you work out to the point where it’s difficult to breathe (because your body is using more oxygen), your metabolism starts working at a higher level, which helps you burn more calories during your workout and after you exercise.
Below is an example of an exercise routine that you can do in 5 minutes. It was created by created by Women’s Health senior fitness editor Jen Ator, C.S.C.S., author of the new book “Shape-Up Shortcuts”.
You’ll do five moves in five minutes with ten seconds of rest between each exercise (so, fifty seconds on, ten seconds off). It’ll get your heart racing HARD and your muscles really working—in almost no time at all. All you’ll need is a step-up box, a few risers, and a little motivation!
Here are the moves:
1) Reverse Lunge
2) Fast Feet
3) Squat Thrust with Hand Walk
4) Hand Walk with Offset Push up
5) Lateral Shuffle
That’s it, just keep the intensity level high and you will soon see the results. To keep track of your progress during your high rep training and during your regular day to day routine, try using the Fitbit Charge HR Activity monitor. See your heart rate all day and especially during your workouts to get your accurate calorie burn and watch you reach your target workout intensity and maximize training time.