High-Intensity Interval Training; HIIT, refers to the type of exercise that involves short periods of intense workout in alternation with break periods of low-intensity ones, and is considered the most efficient type of exercise in regards to time. HIIT usually takes 10 – 30 minutes, and it gives the body double the benefits of moderate-intensity workouts despite the short duration.
Practically, the types of exercise involved in HIIT vary, some of which are running, bike-riding, jump rope, and weight lifting. The duration of workout and recovery differ according to the exercise chosen and its intensity.
Regardless of performance, HIIT should involve short periods of vigorous workout to speed up the heart rate.
How to initiate HIIT?
There are many ways to include HIIT in the daily workout routine, it only depends on the type of exercise chosen and finding the suitable timing; for example:
- Using a stationary bike as hard and fast as one can for 30 seconds, followed by 2 – 4 minutes of slow pedaling. This exercise is repeated for 15 – 30 minutes.
- Running as fast as one can for 15 seconds, followed by 1 – 2 minutes of walking. This exercise is repeated for 10 – 20 minutes.
- Doing jumping squats for 30 – 90 seconds as quickly as possible, followed by 30 – 90 seconds of walking. This exercise is repeated for 10 – 20 minutes.
Benefits of HIIT:
One of the best advantages of HIIT is receiving the greatest amount of benefits out of a workout in the shortest period of time. Some HIIT benefits include the following:
Burning calories in short time:
A comparison study was held to determine the amount of calories burnt in a 30-minute workout between following a HIIT pattern and regular patterns; the study demonstrated a 25 – 30 % more calorie-burn following HIIT than other training types and in a lesser time span.
Increasing metabolism for several hours after training:
One of the methods HIIT helps in burning calories comes after finishing the workout as it boosts the body’s metabolism more than traditional training, and directs the body to use fats for producing energy instead of carbohydrates.
Studies demonstrated that sprinting using the HIIT pattern for only two minutes can boost metabolism for 24 hours at the same level of 30-minute traditional sprinting.
Studies showed that doing HIIT three times a week for 20 minutes each can help lose 2kg in 12 weeks without following a diet. Moreover, HIIT is more efficient than traditional exercise among obese people as it reduces harmful visceral fats surrounding internal vital organs.
Increasing muscle mass:
HIIT helps in increasing muscle mass; especially those most used in the workout like legs and trunk. However, this effect is only observed among people with no prior sports activities, and no difference was noticeable among athletes in regards to muscle mass. Therefore, weight lifting is still the go-to method for bodybuilding, while HIIT offers support for the process.
Enhancing Oxygen consumption:
Oxygen consumption refers to the muscles ability to use oxygen during workout. Endurance exercises are usually the go-to method to enhance oxygen consumption, but studies found that HIIT can give the same results within half the time.
Reducing heart rate and blood pressure:
HIIT is suitable for people with excess weight and high blood pressure, and is more efficient than the often-advised moderate-intensity exercises in terms of reducing the issue. HIIT does not affect blood pressure among healthy people with normal weight.
Decreasing blood sugar levels:
HIIT is found to be very beneficial for people with type-2 diabetes or at risk of it, since it enhances Insulin tolerance more than traditional training, and reduces blood sugar levels when followed for no longer than 12 weeks.