If you’re like the majority of us, on Jan. 1 you said, “I’ve got to make some changes this year.” Most the time at least one of those changes involve some version of exercise. How can we do that when we’re busy or don’t have a gym membership or have “tried it all”?
That’s where High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) comes into play. The best description of this type of exercise is short, intense, unsustainable bursts of activity with intervals of quick rest. For example, running as fast as you possibly can for 1 minute and then walking for 2 minutes, Repeat this 3 minute cycle 5 times for a total of 15 minutes. Quick and easy!! (not easy, I was joking about that) If you don’t like running then jump rope quickly for 1 minute and rest for 2minutes. If you have access to a rowing machine or a bicycle then row or bike as fast as possible for your 1 minute exertion. If you don’t feel you can sustain the 1 minute all out sprint then cut your intervals down to 20 seconds on and 10 seconds off. The idea is to work as hard as possible for the exertion period in order to get your heart pumping and your breathing very labored.
Why is this a great form of exercise? There are 3 types of muscle fibers; slow twitch, fast twitch and super fast twitch. You want to work all 3 types so your whole heart muscle is engaged. HIIT allows this to happen.
Why is this a great form of exercise? It helps to reduce body fat faster then just running or just walking or just lifting weights. It improves your muscle tone and it causes your body to continue to burn calories up to 48-72 hours later.
Why is this a great form of exercise? It does not require specialized gym equipment. As I said earlier, if you have a rowing machine or bicycle that’s a great way to get your heart rate up but neither of those pieces of equipment is required. You can run outside or do high knee running in place inside or jump rope or do burpees etc. etc. etc.
Why is this a great form of exercise? You can be finished in 15 minutes. It cuts out the, “I don’t have time” excuse. If you add HIIT to your training it will make you “better” in your other athletic endeavors. You will have more speed and stamina the next time you take a hike, ride your bike or run a 5k.
And finally, Why is this a great form of exercise? HIIT stimulates the production of Human Growth Hormone (HGH). HGH helps us to stay younger longer both inside and out. Who doesn’t want that?