High intensity interval training, or HIIT for short, is a fairly new exercise regimen that many may not have heard about. This type of exercise training involves short periods of high intensity aerobic exercise followed by even shorter periods of rest or recovery. The time period of the high intensity exercise could be as short as 30 seconds or as long as 4-5 minutes. The goal is to exercise at maximum ability to get the heart rate up and the short recovery period keeps the heart rate elevated. Because HIIT is intense, the exercise period is much shorter and is a good option for someone with limited time in their schedule. Researchers have found many benefits to HIIT and in many cases HIIT is superior to traditional aerobic exercise.
Research shows that HIIT is superior to moderate intensity continuous training in contributing to lower blood pressure, reducing the kind of coronary plaques that cause strokes and heart attacks, and reduction in hs-CRP, an inflammatory marker that is a risk factor for heart disease. HIIT has also been shown to increase cardiorespiratory function, the ability of the heart and lungs to carry oxygen throughout the body more than traditional aerobic exercise.
More calories and more fat is burned during a HIIT workout than during a moderate intensity workout. HIIT also causes more “afterburn” in which the body continues to burn calories due to an increased metabolic rate. HIIT also increases growth hormone response. Human growth hormone in adults increases muscle mass, encourages fat breakdown, and reduces the liver’s uptake of glucose.
Because HIIT is intense, the exercise period is much shorter (30-45 minutes) and is a good option for someone with limited time in their schedule. Limit HIIT training to 3 times per week with 24 hours between sessions to give the body time to recover. Consult a physician before beginning any exercise program.
*These statements have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
Ito S. High-intensity interval training for health benefits and care of cardiac diseases – The key to an efficient exercise protocol. World J Cardiol. 2019;11(7):171-188. doi:10.4330/wjc.v11.i7.171