The fitness industry, inarguably, is one that has seen its share of fads and gimmicks. Fortunately, HIIT isn't one of them, and it's got the research to back it up. In a report published in the International Journal of Cardiology, exercise scientists found that people who did HIIT received the same benefits as those who did regular intensity workouts. Aside from HIIT being shorter than regular workouts, they also found that it had better peak oxygen uptake, which determines a person's cardiovascular fitness. Having better peak oxygen uptake, also called VO2 max, means the body can use more oxygen during a period of intense exercise.
Unlike other fitness fads, which require a person to purchase costly or specialized equipment, HIIT is relatively user-friendly, thanks to its flexibility, low cost, and its greatest attribute, a small time commitment. Indeed, anyone can get into HIIT, but it's important to remember that it's a specialized workout that involves short exercises designed for maximum intensity, as well as intervals of moderate-intensity exercise. The primary component of a HIIT workout is that it's made to involve maximum effort in that short amount of time, which is widely different from other forms of regular interval training.
HIIT exercises can last up to eight minutes; however, during this time, the person performs the intervals at 80 to 95 percent of their estimated maximum heart rate. This pushes the body into the anaerobic zone, where maximum effort performed for short bursts increases the heart rate. A good measure is the "talk-test" -- a person doing a HIIT workout will find it difficult to carry a conversation. The lower intensity workout is then performed at 40–50 percent of the maximum heart rate. This allows the body to recover and prepare itself for another intense interval.
For the most part, you can alternate between high-intensity and low-intensity exercises for anywhere from 20 to even 60 minutes. (Related: Burn fat, build muscle, and better your health in less time with HIIT.)
People looking for a quick workout that offers the same amount of benefits as that of a longer workout would do well to look into making HIIT part of their routine. It offers a lot of health benefits in just a fraction of the time. It's also a great way to start moving -- something that at least 80 percent of American adults fail to do at a minimum.
Like most workouts, HIIT also carries some considerations. For one, while HIIT is relatively easy to get into, couch potatoes shouldn't just jump right into it. It's best to have a fundamental level of fitness, which comes from aerobic or strength training, before starting a HIIT routine. In addition, those with pre-existing conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, abnormal cholesterol levels (dyslipidemia), coronary disease, and obesity should seek the advice of a healthcare professional before going into a HIIT routine.
If you're looking for something to kickstart your HIIT routine, here's one that requires no equipment and can be done at home. Do this circuit three times, with a 30-second rest interval between rounds. If you're looking for a challenge, try performing the routine using the maximum values:
Learn more about HIIT at Slender.news.