HIIT Exercises Increase Fitness Levels, Burn More Calories
If you read articles about exercise, you’re bound to come across the term HIIT and how it can improve your personal fitness and help you lose weight. Most people, however, do not know what HIIT stands for or how it works.
HIIT stands for high-intensity intermittent training, which means bursts of intense anaerobic activity followed by a recovery period. For example, you do two minutes of an intense exercise like running followed by two minutes of a less intense exercise, such as walking. HIIT workouts are popular since they can be used in cycling, walking, swimming, elliptical cross training and small group exercise classes. The key is mixing up the intensity.
The workouts are popular since they provide the same fitness benefits as longer workouts and they also burn more calories. Research also shows people who complete HIIT workouts burn more calories for a couple hours after their workout as their body works to restore itself to pre-exercise levels.
Beyond burning more calories, research shows the training method can improve aerobic and anaerobic fitness, maintain muscle mass and cardiovascular health and lower blood pressure and cholesterol.
Intensity is vital with HIIT. During the intense part of HIIT, your heart rate should be at least 80 percent or more of your estimated maximum heart rate. During the recovery phase, your heart rate should be 40 to 50 percent of your maximum rate. If you do not know your heart rate, use the talk test as a guide, which means you are breathing too hard during the intense part of the workout to carry on a conversation, but you are able to talk during the recovery portion.
HIIT workouts are not without risk. Since your heart is working so hard, stop and take a break if you become dizzy or lightheaded. In addition, you risk injury during HIIT workouts if you do not already work out a few times a week. If you want to try HIIT, but don’t exercise regularly, start doing that first.
If you try a HIIT workout, start out with one a week and then work up to two and then three. It is also important to take a day off between HIIT workouts to give your body a chance to recover.
For people who regularly exercise and are looking to change up their routine, HIIT workouts are a great option. They increase your fitness level and help you burn some extra calories. People who are new to regular exercising, however, should pass on HIIT workouts since they can cause injuries and instead stick to more traditional workouts.