What Is HIIT? (High Intensity Interval Training)

Are you low on time and searching for a quick workout with maximum benefits? Then, High Intensity Interval Training, or HIIT, may be for you. Performed in intense short bursts, researchers have found that HIIT training can burn 25-30 percent more calories than traditional moderate exercise in a shorter amount of time. Furthermore, it has been shown to increase your metabolic rate for hours after you are done exercising. This means you are burning calories long after your workout is over – who wouldn’t want that!?!

In order to understand HIIT, it is important to know the distinction between aerobic and anaerobic exercise. For those who remember high school biology and the details of cellular respiration, the main distinction between the two types of exercise is whether oxygen is being used to produce more energy. Aerobic exercises, typically endurance activities performed over a long period of time, like running or spinning, require oxygen. Anaerobic exercise, like HIIT and weightlifting are performed in short bursts followed by recovery periods with the goal of increasing strength and muscle do not require oxygen at the cell level.

Anaerobic exercises, like HIIT, need to be performed at 80% of your maximum heart rate in order to be considered anaerobic. To estimate your maximum heart rate, first subtract your age from 220. For example, for a 45-year old person, their maximum heart rate would be 220-45 which equals 175 beats per minute (bpm). 80 percent of 175 is 140 bpm. So in this case, the person would need to maintain an average of 140 bpm during exercise to be in an anaerobic state.

One of the most popular HIIT workouts on Youtube is just under half an hour from start to finish, and includes squats, jumping lunges, and high knees. These intense pushes, followed by rest have been shown in studies to HIIT workouts on Youtube

Implementing HIIT into your routine is easy: choose the right exercise for you, whether it be running, cycling or swimming — to name just a few — and experiment with different durations of intensities and recoveries. Overall, HIIT produces many of the same health benefits as other kinds of exercise, but in a shorter amount of time. Now who wouldn’t love that?!

Photo Credit: Google Creative Common Licenses

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