Aktualisiert: 21. Okt. 2021
While most people know that physical activity is healthy, it’s estimated that about 30% of people worldwide don’t get enough. Yet, low levels of physical activity and fitness in adulthood are enduring problems. Unfortunately, many people feel that they don’t have enough time to exercise. If this sounds like you, maybe it’s time to try high-intensity interval training (HIIT). A growing body of literature supports the effect of HIIT for improving physical and psychological health-related outcomes. Also, HIIT has become an increasingly popular form of exercise due to its potentially large effects on exercise capacity and small-time requirements. But what does HIIT Training actually mean and how do you perform it correctly?! In addition, what health benefits can I expect when I do HIIT training? All these will be discussed in this article. So, let's start!
HIIT is a broad term for workouts that involve short periods of intense exercise alternated with recovery periods (see in Figure 1). Typically, a HIIT workout will range from 10 to 30 minutes in duration. Despite how short the workout is, it can produce health benefits similar to twice as much moderate-intensity exercise. The actual activity being performed varies but can include sprinting, biking, jump rope, or other bodyweight exercises. Normally, you do each exercise for one time (“round”) in a HIIT workout, before you then rest for a couple of seconds and do the next exercise. In the end, a HIIT typically contains 4 to 6 rounds. The specific amount of time you exercise and recover will vary based on the activity you choose and how intensely you are exercising.
Figure 1 HIIT (Source: https://www.cyclingapps.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/HIIT_cover2.jpg; Retrieved on 15.09.2021)
Benefits of HIIT
HIIT may help you burn more calories than traditional exercise, or burn the same amount of calories in a shorter amount of time.
Due to the intensity of the workout, HIIT can elevate your metabolism for hours after exercise. This results in additional calories being burned even after you have finished exercising (after burning effect).
High-intensity intervals can produce similar fat loss to traditional endurance exercise, even with a much smaller time commitment. They can also reduce unhealthy visceral fat.
If you are not very active, you may gain some muscle by starting HIIT but not as much as if you performed weight training.
High-intensity interval training can improve oxygen consumption as much as traditional endurance training, even if you only exercise about half as long.
HIIT can reduce blood pressure and heart rate, primarily in overweight or obese individuals with high blood pressure.
There are many ways to add high-intensity intervals to your exercise routine, so it isn’t hard to get started. To begin, you just need to choose your activity (running, biking, jumping, etc.). Then, you can experiment with different durations of exercise and recovery, or how long you are performing intense exercise and how long you are recovering.
Here are a few simple examples of HIIT workouts:
Using a stationary bike, pedal as hard and fast as possible for 30 seconds. Then, pedal at a slow, easy pace for two to four minutes. Repeat this pattern for 15 to 30 minutes.
After jogging to warm up, sprint as fast as you can for 15 seconds. Then, walk or jog at a slow pace for one to two minutes. Repeat this pattern for 10 to 20 minutes.
Perform squat jumps as quickly as possible for 30 to 90 seconds. Then, stand or walk for 30 to 90 seconds. Repeat this pattern for 10 to 20 minutes.
While these examples can get you started, you should modify your own routine based on your own preferences. So, if you are more interested in bodyweight exercises combined with HIIT, then check out my post on Thursday. High-intensity interval training is a very efficient way to exercise and may help you burn more calories than you would with other forms of exercise. Some of the calories burned from high-intensity intervals come from a higher metabolism, which lasts for hours after exercise. Overall, HIIT produces many of the same health benefits as other forms of exercise in a shorter amount of time.
Eather, N., Riley, N., Miller, A., Smith, V., Poole, A., Vincze, L., ... & Lubans, D. R. (2019). Efficacy and feasibility of HIIT training for university students: The Uni-HIIT RCT. Journal of science and medicine in sport, 22(5), 596-601.
Foster, C., Farland, C. V., Guidotti, F., Harbin, M., Roberts, B., Schuette, J., ... & Porcari, J. P. (2015). The effects of high intensity interval training vs steady state training on aerobic and anaerobic capacity. Journal of sports science & medicine, 14(4), 747.
Tinsley, G. (June 2, 2017). 7 Benefits of High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). Retrieved on 15.09.2021; from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/benefits-of-hiit