Do you struggle to find the time to exercise? Can't commit to a 60-minute gym class or workout? We get it! Time is valuable and hard to come by! HIIT workouts are a great way to work on your cardiovascular health and feel better mentally in a short amount of time. Let's take a deep dive into these little sweat sessions.
So what exactly is a HIIT workout?
HIIT stands for high-intensity interval training. During the workout, you alternate between brief but intense bursts of cardio exercise (100% effort) followed by periods of short-term rest. HIIT workouts do not require any specialized equipment so that you can do them just about anywhere, and they typically last less than 30 minutes.
There are endless combinations of exercises you can incorporate into a HIIT workout to prevent boredom. For example, as part of a HIIT workout, you may sprint for 30 seconds as fast as possible and then slow down to a jog for 1 minute as your active recovery. Next, do rapid squat jumps for 30 seconds, followed by a 10-20 second squat hold for recovery. Repeat these exercises for six rounds and about a 15-minute workout.
What are the benefits?
HIIT workouts offer all the same health benefits as other forms of exercise, including improvements in metabolism and cardiovascular endurance but in LESS time! These short workouts are great at elevating your heart rate and keeping it elevated throughout the training session.
Why does it work?
When your body is working at the max effort, the body's need for oxygen increases and creates an oxygen shortage. When you are in the active recovery period of a HIIT workout, your body is still asking for more oxygen leading to an afterburn effect that continues to burn calories and fat even after you have finished your workout. The results of a HIIT workout on your metabolism can last for hours.
What are you waiting for? See if you can find about 10-20 minutes in your day. Pick 2-3 of your favorite exercises and get moving….as fast as you can, then recover and repeat!
Laura Dority, MS, RDN, LDN
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Skelly LE, Andrews PC, et al. High-intensity interval exercise induces 24-h energy expenditure similar to traditional endurance exercise despite reduced time commitment. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2014;39(7):845-8.
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