HIIT- High Intensity Interval Training– is an approach to exercising that combines short bursts of vigorous activity with recovery periods, repeated several times, for a quick but effective workout. HIIT gives you all the benefits of vigorous exercise, while also encouraging you to catch your breath before jumping back into it. Many people, even those who are not in good shape, find HIIT more enjoyable than longer but less intense workouts. Sound too good to be true? It gets better!
Biggest Benefit of HIIT
In addition to all of the usual benefits of any type of physical activity, HIIT offers an important and exciting benefit over traditional workouts- same results in less time! Vigorous activity gives you the same results as less intense exercises in half the time.
It is recommended that you do moderate physical activity, like brisk walking, biking, or gardening, for 30 minutes 5 days a week, for a total of 150 minutes per week. But if you are doing vigorous activity, like HIIT workouts, swimming, or running, you cut that time down to 75 minutes per week, or 15 minutes a day, 5 days a week. We are all busy, but everyone can find 15 minutes to invest in his or her health and wellbeing.
What Does Vigorous Activity Mean?
To get the reported benefits of HIIT, you have to work hard during the vigorous activity interval. One common misconception is that you have to be an athlete to engage in HIIT. You should aim to get to YOUR highest intensity. For some people this might be a full on sprint, where for others, it could be marching in place. It all depends on what you can safely handle for your level of fitness. Over time, you will be able to gradually increase the speed and intensity of your intervals.
Any easy way to measure intensity is the talk test. During your HIIT intervals, you should be between 75 – 100%, meaning you’re breathing too hard to say more than a word or two at a time.
How Does HIIT Work?
As already mentioned, HIIT is alternating between intervals of intense effort (sprinting, jumping jacks, squats, or push-ups, etc.) and recovery (catching your breath or slow walking). The amount of time for each interval can range from 20-120 seconds of work, followed by 10-60 seconds of rest. These intervals are repeated several times for a complete workout. Most HIIT workouts last 7-20 minutes. See how HIIT is pretty amazing for busy people who want to move more?
HIIT workouts can use either cardio exercises or resistance exercises, or both for the vigorous activity intervals. Once you understand the basic format, it’s easy to mix and match different exercises and create your own HIIT workouts. You can tailor HIIT workouts to your favorite exercise moves or physical activity goals (improve speed, improve strength, etc.), making it a great way to turn HIIT into a habit.
With such a fun and effective workout in a short time, it’s no wonder that HIIT was the #2 fitness trend according to an American College of Sports Medicine survey.
Are you ready to get your HIIT on? Join the Family Nutrition Program during the month of July for our #7in7 HIIT Challenge to celebrate the launch of our Move More, Virginia! 7 Minute HIIT Workout. Be sure to “Join” the event on Facebook to stay up to date as we countdown to the launch.