Everyone wants the fastest, most efficient way to get in shape and HIIT delivers. As such, the idea of being able to work out for only a short period of time and still have washboard abs sounds like a no brainer. So when you are pressed for time but want to stay lean and healthy, HIIT training is the ideal way to get the job done quickly and effectively.
That said, HIIT is an ideal solution for anyone who does not have the time to exercise for long durations. Individuals on the go, those with hectic schedules or not willing to invest too much time into fitness can benefit, although effort is non-negotiable.
While additional calorie burn, fat loss, muscle gain and improved endurance are a given with HIIT training- and will be discussed in greater details later on, here are some of the most promising benefits HIIT training can offer:
Improves Oxygen Consumption
In simple terms, oxygen consumption can be described as the ability of the muscles to use oxygen. For non-athletic personnel, typically this is possible only after regularly cycling or running but with HIIT, the benefits can be achieved by anyone and in a much shorter period of time.
HIIT improves the stroke volume which is the volume of blood pumped around the body in one contraction. This volume increases when you exercise given the body’s higher need for oxygenated blood.
A study conducted regarding oxygen consumption stated that in a five-week time period, working out four days weekly with 20 minute HIIT workouts led to improved oxygen consumption by almost 9 percent of the subjects. The result is the same as cycling for 40 minutes every day which requires far greater energy consumption.
So HIIT may improve oxygen consumption as much as traditional endurance training, even when you exercise for only half as long.
In terms of health benefits other than weight loss and improved oxygen consumption, HIIT can provide immense cardiovascular health benefits.
Perhaps the most important thing in this regard is lowering resting heart rate and reducing blood pressure.
While it is well known that extreme training delivers extreme results, most people find it hard to push themselves to an anaerobic zone. HIIT training makes it easier to get into the anaerobic zone as it requires you to perform each bursts with maximum intensity whereby your heart beats faster, you lose your breath more often and then lowering your heart rate during the rest interval that follows. Over time, this training can result in a lower resting heart rate, which also lowers the risk of having heart diseases.
Likewise, HIIT can also help with lowering blood pressure levels as this form of intense exercise can help reduce arterial stiffness. High intensity interval training can also improve endothelial function which is the ability of the arteries to dilate better than moderate intensity training. Good endothelial function is important for blood pressure control and blood vessel health.
Comparative studies have shown that HIIT to be more effective than traditional cardio done at a steady pace in lowering blood pressure readings.
Helps Reduce Blood Sugar
When done over a period of 12 weeks, HIIT can also be beneficial for reducing blood sugar levels. Not only does it improve metabolism but also optimizing insulin resistance.
Patients with diabetes are often asked to exercise to bring their blood glucose levels down. Research now shows that HIIT training rapidly improves diabetics’ glucose metabolism in muscles and insulin sensitivity in type 2 diabetes.
Intense muscular contractions during HIIT stimulates muscles to take up glucose from the blood to be used as fuel which lowers glucose concentrations. Interestingly, the same also happens whether insulin is present or not, so the approach can also work with people with type 1 diabetes.
As mentioned earlier, combining high intensity with interval training brings about EPOC which has the result of speeding the metabolic rate. The effects of this mechanism can be felt for up to 48 hours after a HIIT workout. This means that you will continue to burn fat long after leaving the gym.
Researchers also agree that as compared to jogging or running, HIIT can really push up the metabolic rate. Also, another plus point of this training is that it allows utilization of body fat for energy rather than just carbs alone.
A study concluded that only 2 minutes of high-intensity interval training led to increased metabolism for 24 hours which could easily outweigh the benefits of 30 minutes of jogging.
Time Saving Features That Require No Equipment
With HIIT you no longer have the excuse of not having sufficient time. In fact, HIIT workouts are doable anywhere from your home to a hotel suite and even outside in the park.
Plus workouts are quick and short, with the longest being no more than 30 minutes at most. Who doesn’t have time for that!
Another benefit of HIIT is that it doesn't require any specific equipment helping you save money while providing health benefits at the same time.
Create Customized Workouts
If you are not up to using weights or machines for your workout, no worries. HIIT can be customized to your individual level and skills.
The most basic workout may use only body weight as the aim is to get your heart rate up and keep it there. You get to pick any kind of exercise which elevates the heart rate and then create an interval workout.
You also get to change your exercises every session which provides an advantage and allows you to not tire or get bored by doing the same thing again and again.
Challenging And Entertaining
HIIT is a fun and entertaining way to reduce fat and improve overall body health as it allows you to keep changing workouts eradicating the boredom element.
The same also provides a challenge to beginners and newbies by helping them transform and see the changes in their body. It is a challenge to let go of the comfort zone and pursue an exercise that holds massive benefits.
HIIT Is Efficient
If you have a busy schedule and are unable to work out regularly, HIIT is the thing for you. If you have an event coming up for which you want to look gorgeous, try HIIT as it is more effective than a regular workout and can provide noticeable results much faster.