Getting and staying fit takes tremendous effort and a ton of hard work. You essentially have to constantly push your physical boundaries to continue to make advances. Well, one way to do that and achieve a higher level of fitness is through HIIT.
HIIT stands for high-intensity interval training (sometimes called high-intensity intermittent exercise, or HIIE) and it involves alternating short bursts of intense exercise with slightly longer periods of either rest or light activity. What makes this type of training so beneficial? Here are four compelling reasons to consider:
You Burn More Calories
Muscle & Fitness published an article titled 5 Ways to Burn 500 Calories and guess what type of exercise made the list? HIIT, of course! Not only was it listed as a great way to burn a higher number of calories when compared to a lot of other workout options, but Tabata was the only other one on the list that beat it out in regard to time. In other words, you can expect to burn around 500 calories in 32 minutes with HIIT and it only takes 26 minutes to burn the same with Tabata. Talk about quick results!
Training Sessions Are Shorter
Another compelling reason to add HIIT to your exercise program is that the training sessions are shorter, making it a huge benefit in this day and age when our to-do lists are often longer than the day allows. Depending on how you structure your intervals and how many you do, your HIIT workouts can last anywhere from four minutes up to 30. In fact, some fitness experts, like those at Men’s Fitness, recommend not going above a half-hour as you risk overuse injuries at that point. A workout session that is supposed to be short versus long? How great is that?
You Don’t Need Expensive Equipment
Most of us are on a budget, putting a lot of different exercise programs out of reach simply because we don’t have the cash to buy the necessary equipment. However, that’s not the case with HIIT. This particular type of exercise relies primarily on your own bodyweight for resistance (think sit-ups and push-ups). That also means that you can do it anywhere, even if you’re traveling or otherwise away from home.
It Provides Numerous Health-Based Results
While all exercise offers some health-based benefits, the ones provided by HIIT are numerous. For instance, the American College of Sports Medicine lists benefits of HIIT to include improved blood pressure, a healthier cardiovascular system, better blood sugar control, and lower cholesterol.
Perhaps the best part is that you get all of these advantages naturally, without having to take a bunch of medications or undergo expensive and sometimes life-changing medical procedures. This also means no nasty side effects to contend with, and no lengthy testing and treatment processes.
How to Make HIIT Work For You
If you’re ready to add HIIT workouts to your exercise routine, here are a couple of pointers to make it work as good as possible:
Check with your doctor first to make sure higher-intensity exercises are safe for your health condition and fitness level. Get medical clearance if necessary to ensure you aren’t going to hurt yourself by engaging in this form of exercise.
Also, add HIIT in a way that makes the most sense for you. As College News says, “there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to exercise,” so include HIIT when and where it works best for your particular lifestyle.
What do you say? Are you ready to try HIIT? When you do, you’ll likely hit your goals! (Get it? Hit…HIIT? Pretty good, huh?)
This is a guest post by Denver, Colo.-based freelance writer Shelly Stinson.
You can keep up with her work (and her random thoughts) by following her on Twitter at @ShellyStins.