All too often people turn to fad diets or take up jogging in an attempt to lose the love handles, only to be met with defeat due to boredom or disappointing results. But an alternative approach to exercise can provide an effective solution.
High intensity interval training (HIIT) is a form of exercise that involves short intervals of high intensity cardiovascular exercise (sprinting) and lower intensity recovery stages using a range of methods including running, cycling and swimming.
A HIIT session usually lasts for between 5 and 30 minutes and begins with an initial warm up stage to prepare the body and increase the heart rate. The speed of exercise then gradually increases before a 10-30 second stage of high intensity exercise. Next is a recovery stage at a low or moderate level of intensity, before increasing to the high intensity stage and repeating for another 4 – 9 times.
High intensity interval training benefits
- Over the same time period HIIT will burn more calories than a lower intensity form of exercise such as jogging so is therefore more time effective.
- Less boring than long duration low intensity exercise.
- Is considered by many to be better aligned with natural human hunter gatherer behavior compared to long distance marathon running type exercise which puts strain on the heart for extended periods.
- As HIIT requires less aerobic activity to burn the same calories, it reduces oxidative stress which is why marathon runner can sometimes appear to age faster than sprinters.
- HIIT improves glucose metabolism and conditions the body to store fuel it quickly available glucose, rather than slow burning fat.
- Helps to strengthen muscles, in particular fast twitch muscle fibers designed specifically for fast exercise.
- Can improve your chances of success when running for the bus.