High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is perhaps the most convenient and time-efficient way to exercise. It is a form of training that alternates between short durations of intense activity followed by less intense recovery periods until you are unable to continue the exercise.
So, if you have a very busy lifestyle and don’t get time to exercise, then high-intensity interval training can be the perfect workout option for you as you can get in and out of a HIIT workout session in 30 minutes or less. But despite how short the exercise is, you can still gain all those advantages that are equal to or more than the benefits gained during longer-duration workouts.
Benefits of high-intensity interval training (HIIT)
1) Burns a lot of calories in a shorter amount of time
When it comes to calorie-burning exercises, high-intensity interval training can be really effective as it helps shed more calories than any other longer exercise sessions that require you to maintain the same pace for the entire duration of the exercise.
2) Reduces the risk of diabetes
Various studies suggest that HIIT helps reduce the risk of diabetes, primarily by controlling blood sugar levels. Performing this form of exercise also helps prevent hypoglycemic problems in individuals diagnosed with diabetes.
Since the sessions are short, they are even more effective for people with diabetes as longer duration exercises can sometimes lead to certain health concerns, such as cardiac issues or spikes in blood sugar levels. High-intensity interval training lets them enjoy the advantages of physical activity without putting their health and wellness at risk.
3) Helps improve athletic performance
If you are into any type of sport, HIIT workouts can potentially improve your game. Studies suggest that practicing high-intensity interval training exercises at least three times a week for six to seven weeks can improve your overall sports performance and is also better for enhancing endurance-based sports skills.
4) Helps you lose weight
Since HIIT helps burn more calories, it can be a productive way to shed those extra kilos, since you don’t need to spend more time working out. Studies have proven that individuals who did high-intensity interval training lost about 28% more fat than people who practiced moderately-intense exercises.
5) Promotes metabolism
HIIT helps to burn more carbohydrates and fat within a short span, which thereby helps to increase metabolism post-workout. Plus, it has also been shown to enhance your resting energy expenditure, meaning your body is continuously burning calories at a good rate even after you’ve completed the exercise.
How to get started with HIIT workouts?
There are several ways to add high-intensity interval training to your workout routine. It could be anything – running, jumping rope, biking, etc. Once you’ve chosen your activities, experiment with them for different durations of workouts and recovery periods.
For instance, if you are using a stationary bike, then start with 30 seconds of high-speed pedaling, followed by slow and easy pedaling for 5 minutes. Repeat the pattern for 30 minutes. While this example can get you started, you can easily modify your workouts based on your personal preferences.
But before you start, it is important to note that despite its benefits, high-intensity interval training is not recommended for everyone, especially:
If you are a beginner exerciser
The drastic change in the speed and intensity of the exercises can lead to pain and injuries in people who are novice exercisers, or not strong or flexible enough to maintain the intensity. So, if you’ve never exercised before, consider starting your fitness journey with low-impact exercises.
If you have muscle problems
Those with joints and muscle problems should be careful when practicing explosive exercises because they require sudden bursts of energy that can be really hard on the muscles.
If you are pregnant
High-intensity interval training in under 45 minutes is generally safe for pregnant women who were regular exercisers before becoming pregnant. But women who were not physically active before should try to avoid it and start with low-intensity exercises. Plus, they should also consult their doctor and get their approval.
Overall, high-intensity interval training has many health benefits as compared to other forms of workouts. It helps decrease body fat, controls blood pressure and heart rate, and also improves insulin sensitivity in diabetic patients.
So, if you are busy and short on time, consider incorporating HIIT workouts into your daily routine.