High Intensity Interval Training: The Perfect Exercise?

High Intensity Training

HIIT (High Intensity Internal Training) incorporates many of the benefits of resistance training and cardio.

By now, most people understand that the benefits associated with a regular exercise regimen are extremely important if you want to achieve maximum health and vitality. While diet is likely the most critical factor when it comes to maintaining your health, the healthiest diet in the world will likely only achieve minimal results if not coupled with a sensible exercise regimen. Consider High Intensity Interval Training.

Simply put, our bodies were designed to move!

To that end, there has been much inquiry into what the best exercise for overall health might be. Generally, types of exercise are broken down into two categories: cardio and strength training. While cardio exercise (such as running, biking, swimming, etc.) focuses on your endurance, strength training focuses on strengthening muscles and increasing their ability to work. Both strength training and cardio have their own, unique benefits while both having plenty of overlap, as well. 

In recent years, however, a newer form of exercise has become more popular; this form of exercise is known as high intensity interval training, or HIIT. In a nutshell, HIIT involves short bursts of intense activity followed by brief periods of rest/recovery done in sets. 

A simple example of this is sprinting for 30 seconds, followed by 1 minute of walking, repeated 10-20 times. For those thirty seconds, you are maximizing your physical output––you are intensely working the muscles in your legs and your core, working your balancing muscles and elevating your heart rate. 

This is the idea behind HIIT; you are working your muscles as intensely as you would during strength training while elevating your heart rate as you would during cardio––a combination of both forms of exercise.

Studies have shown that the benefits of HIIT are similar to the combined benefits of cardio and strength training. Particularly for those looking to lose weight, HIIT is an attractive form of exercise; some studies show that the weight loss benefits extend beyond just the workout period during which you are burning calories. HIIT is thought to keep metabolism high following the workout period, as the body works to repair muscles. In a way, HIIT encourages your body to keep burning fat long after you complete your workout. 

Among the benefits of HIIT is that this form of training takes very little time to get a good workout, sometimes as little as 15-20 minutes a day is enough HIIT to get an intense workout in. Those 15-20 minutes, however, are very intense, and likely HIIT is something that only seasoned exercisers should try to incorporate into their regimen. While the benefits are profound, you should likely talk to your doctor before incorporating HIIT workouts into your regimen. 

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