High Intensity Interval Training, sound scary? Well yes it might, but that’s just because of what you’re imagining in your head. Military style ‘go go go, faster faster faster, more more more….!’ There is an element of this… but when you actually break down what this style of exercise means, interval training, by default, means it’s not high impact. It means you train in intervals, therefore you get to have rests, so what’s there to worry about?
So what is High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) all about…? HIIT involves repeatedly exercising at a high intensity for 30 seconds to several minutes, separated by 1–5 minutes of recovery (either no or low intensity exercise). The most common HIIT involves 30 seconds of cycling at maximum effort (at an intensity of over 90% of maximal oxygen uptake, also known as 90% of VO2 max) separated by 4 minutes of recovery, repeated 4–6 times per session, with three sessions per week. This results in only 2–3 minutes of exercise at maximum intensity and 15–25 minutes of low intensity exercise per session, making it a time efficient method of exercise. This can also be replicated with boxing, running and is also the foundation by which most boot camps run.
The biggest test of its efficacy is to measure how HIIT stacks up against continuous moderate exercise (CME). This is the most common form of exercise that individuals partake in, which includes things like jogging or cycling at a medium pace for 30 – 60 minutes. HIIT has been shown to significantly reduce subcutaneous fat, especially abdominal fat, as well as total body mass, and to improve VO2 max (a marker of physical fitness) and insulin sensitivity. In comparison with CME, HIIT burns more calories and increases post-exercise fat oxidation and energy expenditure more than steady-state exercise.
Most importantly, the majority of patients report time constraints as the main reason for not exercising or trying to improve their overall health and wellbeing. Not only is HIIT time efficient but science suggests that you get more bang for your buck. So save yourself an extra couple of hours a week that you are using to exercise inefficiently and get on the HIIT boat, because it’s here to stay!
As your Osteopaths, the team here are available to answer any queries or questions you may have on this or any other topic. There is nothing better for us than our patients improving their lifestyle as it is a massive adjunct to the success of any treatment.
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