Limitations on the amount of time we have in modern society due to busy jobs and family commitments are a central reason why many of us don’t reach the daily recommended amount of exercise guidelines of at least (1) 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity such as cycling or brisk walking every week and (2) strength exercises on 2 or more days a week that work all the major muscles (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms). High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) may well solve this problem and therefore should be seriously considered as an alternative to more moderate forms of exercise.
1. Save Time
The NHS guidelines stipulate, if you replace 150 mins of moderate exercise with 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity such as HIITSTEP, running or a game of singles tennis every week and strength exercises on 2 or more days a week that work all the major muscles (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms). The health and fitness benefits for HIIT training can be gained in half the time. A very desirable training method therefore if time is of the essence designed to get the heart pumping and fats burning. The HIIT workout can last between 10 and thirty minutes.
2. Efficient workout
Despite the fact that HIIT training is time-effective it does not diminish the ability to burn calories and fat. It has been suggested that HIIT workouts can be more effective as a training method because it ‘jolts’ the cardiovascular and muscular system. Working at your maximum is down to how each individual perceives their maximum to be and in a HIIT workout popular exercises include burpees, squats, press ups and so on.
Given the aim of HIIT training is to get our heart rate pumping at a vigorous rate we can use various methods of exercise into your workout. For example if you prefer the rowing machine to running you can incorporate HIIT training when using the rower in your workout and row at an intense rate with intervals and/or adjust the resistance (so you’re working harder) with intervals. In other words you can incorporate HIIT to almost any type of training method so long as your heart is pumping fast and your heart rate keeps up throughout the training.
4. Lower Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is common amongst those that do little exercise and have a poor diet that is high in fat and calories which can lead to serious health problems like heart disease. Performed over a two month period regularly HIIT workouts have been shown to reduce blood pressure which can help those who struggle with high blood pressure.
5. Fat Burner
Getting rid of unwanted fat is usually a primary goal of most of us undertaking an exercise regime. Modern day fast foods high in fat and calories have meant that this is the case. If you can up your heart rate quickly and effectively and keep your heart rate high then this may well burn more fat faster. Exercise regimes of moderate intensity may not burn a lot of fat but if we can keep our heart rate high we may burn more calories.
6. Build Muscle and Endurance
We’ve seen previously that the guidelines stipulate you need to take part in strength exercises 2 or more times per week. HIIT can help you achieve this goal even if your primary goal is to lose weight. You will become stronger as you continue to take part in HIIT but taking part in weight training may be better for you.
Do you get out of breath going to the shop round the corner? Regular HIIT will help you improve your endurance so you will not struggle to get around. However if you take part in moderate exercise regimes this might not have the same benefits as HIIT on your endurance.
7. Maintenance of Blood Sugar Levels
Neglecting exercise and having a unhealthy diet can lead to type-2 diabetes. This tends to happen in later life. Type-2 diabetes resulting from poor diet high in calories and fat can be combated by taking part in physical activity and especially HIIT. Research indicates type-2 diabetes can be offset by taking part in exercise, specifically HIIT.
8. Reduced Resting Heart Rate
Long periods of inactivity, smoking and poor diet can all have a detrimental effect on our heart. These issues mean that the heart has to work harder to deliver nutrients and oxygen to the body when at rest. Taking part in HIIT should reduce the resting heart rate making the heart more healthy and efficient.
9. A Boost to your metabolism
Your metabolic rate determines how many calories you burn at rest and can be affected by the type of exercise you do, your genetics and other health factors. It is suggested that exercising 3-5 times per week will increase your metabolism. If you take part in HIIT this can help you become physically fitter and healthier in less time than moderate exercise and can jump start your metabolism whereby you are burning more calories at rest than if you simply undertook moderate exercise.
10. More Efficient at Loosing Weight
One study involving 12 people who completed 3 HIIT workouts a week for 20 minutes per session were found to lose 4 pounds in weight without any adjustments to their diet. It may well be that HIIT can help those who’s dietary intake is considered unhealthy because of this. Furthermore, is was found that visceral fat around the major organs was also reduced noting that those with high levels of visceral fat have a higher chance of developing serious health problems.