You might have heard of high-intensity interval training or HIIT and the fact that it’s tailor made for those who need to workout but don’t get enough time to do it. HIIT is characterised by short bursts of intense exercise alternated with recovery periods with low-intensity exercise. A typical HIIT protocol can last for 10 to 30 minutes, depending upon your fitness levels and the time you have at hand.
This duration might seem too short, but many studies have indicated that it’s much more beneficial than a normal, moderate intensity exercise regimen. While it’s true that the many HIIT protocols that exist and are practised today are a great workout, there are also many health benefits associated with this type of exercise regimen.
HIIT is not just associated with weight loss (though that’s always a bonus); a recent article in ACSM Health & Fitness Journal reveals that since HIIT takes shorter time to provide more benefits, it has been seen to improve the health conditions of people with Down Syndrome (DS). Whether you have DS or not, the following are some of the benefits you can reap by picking up HIIT.
1. Quick calorie burn: Studies show that HIIT can help you burn 20-30% more calories than other forms of exercise, including jogging, running and cycling. What’s more, this type of exercise is a quick calorie-burning method because you actually spend less time exercising than you need to with other forms of exercise.
2. Benefits even after you stop: So you’re done with a 20-minute HIIT and think that’s the only duration for which you burned fat? Think again, because with HIIT, your metabolic rate increases and stays up for hours after HIIT so you keep burning more calories during that time.
3. Muscle gains: HIIT not only helps lose fat but also aids the building of more muscle mass in your body. This is especially true for people who were less active to begin with, and jumped right into HIIT. So, while weight training is still the best way to sustain an increase in muscle mass, HIIT can give you a kickstart.
4. Build endurance: HIIT protocols are known to trigger excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), which increases your body’s ability to properly use oxygen while burning fat. This increased oxygen consumption helps build endurance.
5. Heart rules: Overweight and obese people usually have a higher heart rate and blood pressure. HIIT regulates both of those to not only prevent obesity and hypertension but also to keep your heart and blood circulation in order.
6. Bye diabetes: And since it improves blood circulation in the body, HIIT has also been credited to reduce the risk of diabetes. This is also because HIIT protocols done regularly can keep blood sugar levels in check while improving insulin sensitivity.
7. Save time and hassle: Not only do HIIT protocols take much less time to complete, you also don’t necessarily need a gym or fancy equipment to get into it. Sure, a stationary bike can help, but even if you don’t have it, you can jump, sprint and use your body weight to achieve the same goals.
For more information, read our article on High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).
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