High-intensity interval training, also called HIIT, has become a popular workout trend known to burn calories and promote weight loss. Its characteristic feature is short, high-powered bursts of exercise followed by shorter periods of rest. For example, a workout may include 1 minute of burpees, followed by 30 seconds of rest, and so on. However, there are also some other unique benefits that come along with practicing HIIT, too.
1) Time Efficient
HIIT workouts work well for the busy lifestyle because they pack a lot into a short amount of time. Typical HIIT workouts at home range from 15-30 minutes because they are so intense. The high amount of repetitions, when done quickly, means that you get more exercise in half the amount of time of typical, moderate exercise. This means it is easier to squeeze in a HIIT workout at any time, to any busy schedule. Say goodbye to long treks on the treadmill that seem to get you nowhere!
The short bursts of explosive movement coupled with the rest periods actually means you work out more intensely for longer, too. It will also help you stay committed to your workout regimen since it takes up less time.
2) You Can Do It Anywhere
High-intensity interval training is not location-specific- you can do it anywhere! You don't have to go to a class or a gym. You can do it on your own time, at home, at a park, maybe even in your office during a break! Watch out for the sweat, though. You also don’t even need any equipment- all you need is your body and a workout plan! You can find dozens of HIIT workouts online to follow along with.
3) Boost your metabolism
Interval training in combination with intense, high energy movement accelerates your metabolic rate. Metabolism is responsible for how quickly your body promotes fat-burning and stunts the production of fat. It converts the nutrients you consume through your diet into energy. Those who do HIIT regularly have higher levels of enzymes in their muscles that promote fat oxidation (burning). This means you will even be burning fat hours or in some cases up to 2 days after a HIIT workout.
The reason for this is excess post-exercise oxygen consumption or EPOC for short. This is also known as oxygen debt or the amount of oxygen required to restore your body to its normal function after a workout. Anaerobic exercise places a greater demand on the body for oxygen during activity, which increases the need for oxygen post workout, and HIIT is an anaerobic workout. Therefore EPOC produced by HIIT increases the body’s metabolic rate.
4) Increase Muscle Tone
Another added benefit to HIIT is increased strength and muscular tone. Muscle and strength are important not only to keep the body healthy for everyday tasks from lifting to cleaning your house but also to maintain overall function. If you are active in sports or even enjoy the occasional hike outdoors, strengthening your muscles will keep the body in good condition for any activity.
5) Decrease High Blood Pressure
The line between high and normal blood pressure is a very small one that HIIT may help. Also called hypertension, high blood pressure is a reading greater than 140/90 mm Hg. The top number represents the pressure of the heart pumping called the systolic blood pressure. The bottom number is the diastolic blood pressure, which reflects the heart at rest, which is why it is a lower number. When the systolic blood pressure is decreased, even by only 2%, the chance of heart attack and stroke are greatly decreased, HIIT is a natural way to decrease your blood pressure without medications or their side effects through moderate continuous exercise. But as a bonus, it also helps loosen arterial blood vessel stiffness, which has been shown to be a contributing factor to hypertension.
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