“Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body, it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity.”– John F. Kennedy
Today, when everyone is occupied with managing work and house duties maintaining a consistent exercise routine, can be very challenging for many people. For some people, the issue is not being able to take out enough time for 30 to 60 minutes of exercise regime 3 to 5 times per week from their already overloaded schedule. For others, it is either procrastination or boredom of consistently plodding through moderate-intensity aerobic exercise.
High-intensity interval training or HIIT can be any type of workout/exercise routine that includes a short burst of intense exercise that precedes a period of rest or low-intensity exercise. A HIIT workout need not be an hour-long but can be as short as 15–20 minutes, and provides a wide range of benefits to the body. It is actually the option of short duration in this type of workout that makes it a very practical and effective choice for people who find it challenging to commit to longer sessions.
When it comes to stimulating adaptations for improved performance especially for athletes, HIIT has been an essential training strategy for a very long time now. Studies show that the total time spent at higher intensity exercise will be very beneficial for health. Therefore, to spend a longer duration at an elevated intensity than can be accomplished with continuous exercise one can alternate high- with lower intensity intervals allows an individual to. Although, HIIT classes can easily be found at a local gym, but there is absolutely problem if one is unable to find classes or equipment as this type of training can be done at home also.
It has been observed that HIIT may help in improving both heart health and mental health. According to a 2015 study it was found that a 10-week program of HIIT workouts can provide cardiovascular and metabolic benefits that were similar to those produced through moderate-intensity workouts. Other than health, mental health, and weight loss HIIT improve insulin sensitivity, glucose tolerance, and lipid profiles.
High-intensity interval training is time-efficient. In terms of calorie burning, one can burn more calories after a HIIT workout as compared to a regular steady-state cardio exercise like running, as the heart rate remains relatively stable. This was confirmed by a 2019 study that had a group of athletes do a HIIT workout and a steady-state run at two different times. After nine minutes the exercises were stopped and results suggested that the HIIT group was burning an average of 3 kilocalories per minute, on the other hand, after a steady-state run the athletes burned 2.8 kilocalories per minute.
Conclusively, HIIT workouts require no specific equipment, so people can perform it at home or in a park at a time that suits them best and allows people to gain many health benefits like flexibility and endurance without needing to go to the gym. And while researchers continue to evaluate the safety of HIIT, it seems that with appropriate guidance and supervision HIIT can be safely undertaken by people with health challenges.