Exercise Fast with High-Intensity Interval Training
High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workouts are making a huge impact on the exercise scene. HIIT workouts are becoming popular because in just a few short minutes of intense exercise, you can achieve many of the same benefits as running or biking for an hour at a moderate pace. HIIT consists of brief intervals of maximum effort exercise, followed by short periods of rest. My favorite form of HIIT exercise is a timing scheme known as TABATA. In a TABATA workout, you perform an exercise as hard as you can for twenty seconds, followed by ten seconds of rest. Repeat this for eight rounds, and in just four minutes you’ll have completed an entire HIIT workout! Let’s take a look at some of the many benefits of HIIT exercise.
Improve Heart Health
HIIT workouts have the potential to raise your heart rate to the maximum level, and hold this rate for the duration of a workout. Over time your heart, cardiovascular system, and lung function will adapt to the high intensity, which strengthens the heart and allows the body to use oxygen and insulin more effectively.
Decrease Blood Pressure
A study published by the American Journal of Cardiovascular Disease revealed that HIIT exercise improves arterial function by improving elasticity and their ability to dilate, which helps keep hypertension at bay. Abertay University in Scotland produced a study that showed as little as two sessions of HIIT per week is enough to lower blood pressure by an average of 9 percent.
Lower Body Fat
HIIT workouts make you a fat-burning machine, because the body is pushed to maximize their anaerobic and aerobic energy-releasing mechanisms. This burns through fat to provide your muscle the energy to maintain high work capacity. Also, HIIT workouts help build lean muscle, which at rest can burn up to seven times more calories than fat.
Because only a short time is needed to complete a HIIT routine, they can be
squeezed into our busy schedules. Remember, a TABATA style workout only takes FOUR MINUTES to complete! So set a timer, turn on your favorite song, and you can be done working out before the song is over.
No Exercise Equipment Necessary
Body-weight exercises are perfect for a HIIT workout. All you need is a few square feet of space. Some of my favorite exercises for HIIT workouts, especially TABATA style, include air squats, jump squats, and burpees. There are many apps to download on your phone or tablet to get more ideas on body weight exercises. Also, many of these apps will have timers designed for HIIT workouts, such as the 20:10 second ratio for TABATA workouts.
HIIT exercise is a great way to keep yourself healthy. I believe as time goes on and more research is done, we will see a major shift towards incorporating interval training into most workout routines. The benefits are almost too good to be true!
Yours in Health, Dr. Alex