Move It Monday, lets HIIT it. HIIT is short for high intensity interval training. HIIT consists of performing short intense periods of a challenging exercise for 30 to 60 seconds, followed by an easier exercise. This cycle is repeated for 20 to 30 minutes. HIIT is done at 80 to 90% maximum aerobic capacity versus 50 to 65% of moderate-continous activity. Here is an example of a HIIT workout: sprint for 30 seconds and than jog for 30 seconds. Repeat this sequence for 30 minutes. Research has shown that HIIT workouts are more effective than continuous moderate activity at improving cardiovascular fitness. Also, studies suggest that high intensity interval training is best for weight loss. The American Heart Association(AHA) is on broad with high intensity interval training. Here is the the AHA’s recommendation:
For Overall Cardiovascular Health
At least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity at least 5 days per week for a total of 150
At least 25 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity at least 3 days per week for a total of 75 minutes; or a combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity
Moderate to high-intensity muscle-strengthening activity at least 2 days per week for additional health benefits.
For Lowering Blood Pressure and Cholesterol
An average 40 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity aerobic activity 3 or 4 times per week
I am a beginner, is it safe for me to start a HIIT workout?
If you are a beginner or are just getting back into an exercise routine, you too can benefit from high intensity interval training. The key to high intensity interval training is that YOU are performing at YOUR maximum aerobic capacity, not anyone else’s maximum. In contrast to the example above, you can walk at a brisk pace for 30 seconds and than slow your walk for 30 seconds. Repeat this for 5 to 10 minutes. As your endurance and stamina builds, you can increase your time and intensity.
What are the best exercises for high intensity interval training?
Essentially, high intensity interval training can be done with all types of aerobic activity. Walking and running have already been used as examples. Other examples include biking, kickboxing and dancing to name a few. Also, weight training can be done as part of a high intensity interval training program. For example, after completing a set of push ups, perform 20 jumping jacks.
Mix up your routine. There will be days when you won’t want to perform at high intensity. Thus a combination of moderate to high intensity activity will keep your muscles guessing what’s next and keep your metabolism stimulated. High intensity interval training has longed been used by athletes to get into their best shape. Tap into your “inner athlete” and HIIT it!
As always, check in with your physician before you start any exercise program.