Are HIIT Workouts Right for You?

High intensity interval training (HIIT) is a hot topic in the exercise world. It combines short bursts of intense exercise with periods of rest and lower-intensity exercise. Then the cycle repeats. Are HIIT workouts right for you?

HIIT Basics

These quick workouts are often between 15-30 minutes long, making them easy to fit into a busy schedule. You can find them online, in fitness centers, or you can even make up your own. There are many variations of HIIT workouts. Overall, they tend to increase your heart rate and tire your muscles.

One common HIIT workout involves 40 seconds of high-intensity body weight movement (like squats or burpees) followed by 20 seconds of rest. If you’re doing cardio, another common choice is to do one minute of sprinting followed by one minute of jogging, then repeat the cycle. There are so many ways you can incorporate HIIT principles into your workout!

HIIT can be for all fitness levels, but modifications may be necessary. If you’re not able to complete high-intensity movements like burpees, high knees and mountain climbers, substitute with an activity that is still challenging. As your fitness level improves, you can alter these exercises. Some find these exercises too challenging and may wait to try an HIIT program until they are in better shape. That’s the beauty of exercise. There are so many plans to choose from!

Types of HIIT can vary. Bodyweight movements often include running, biking and using weights. Many times, these workouts use a combination of cardiovascular training and strength training. It’s important to maintain your intensity level throughout the entire bout of activity for maximum benefit, followed by a rest period.

Health Benefits

HIIT workouts:

  • Improve athletic capacity and conditioning. During these sessions, your VO2 max (the maximum amount of oxygen your body can use) improves, which is a great predictor of overall health.
  • Help with weight-loss because of the amount of calories they burn. HIIT workouts can burn up to 25% more calories than traditional workouts. This is because your workout is more intense and increases your heart rate. Your body will require extra time to recover.
  • Improve strength, especially when combined with cardiovascular activity.
  • Improve blood pressure and glucose levels.

Are These Workouts for You?

It may be time to step up your traditional workouts and challenge your body. Give HIIT workouts a try. Start small with just a couple of higher-intensity exercises and build from there. You may be amazed at what your body can do and reap the benefits of improvements to your overall health!

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