As physical and occupational therapists, one of the most common recommendations we give our patients is to find ways to exercise and become physically active more regularly. But in our overwhelmingly busy world, we also understand how difficult it can be to find enough time to commit to exercising every week. This is why we are always on the lookout for new forms of exercise that can more easily fit into our patients’ schedules, and one new development that we’re particularly fond of is high-intensity interval training.
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) has been around for years, and has rapidly grown in popularity to become the third biggest fitness trend so far in 2017. Essentially, HIIT is a training technique in which you give an all-out, 100% effort through quick intense bursts of exercise, which are then followed by shorter recovery periods.
Since your body is working so hard during a HIIT workout, it increases your heart rate and helps you burn more fat in less time. HIIT workouts also increase the body’s need for oxygen during these extreme efforts, which leads to an oxygen shortage. This will cause your body to require more oxygen during the recovery period, and over time, the intense workout will help increase your cardiovascular ability and strengthen your heart.
Better cardiovascular health is just one of the many benefits that proponents of HIIT stand by. Other attractive qualities include the following:
- Helps build endurance: HIIT adapts to the cellular structure of the muscles, which enables you to increase your endurance while doing any type of exercise; one study showed that people who participated in HIIT for eight weeks had doubled the length of time they could ride a bike while keeping the same pace
- Quick and convenient: HIIT workouts can be done just about anywhere and at any time, and only require as little as 10 minutes or no more than 30 minutes to complete
- Equipment is usually not necessary: though dumbbells may be optional in some HIIT workouts, most only use your body weight, since the focus is usually on getting your heart rate up and keeping it there
- Helps you lose fat, not muscle: most steady cardiovascular exercise is associated with losing muscle, but since HIIT workouts also include weight training using your own body weight, it will help you preserve muscle while shedding fat
Even with all of these apparent benefits, this doesn’t necessarily guarantee that HIIT workouts are right for you. Just like with any new exercise routine, it’s crucial that you check with your doctor before beginning HIIT, and due to their intense nature, you should be in adequate shape in order to complete them. It’s also important to understand that HIIT workouts may not be for everyone and that they don’t necessarily have to be a substitute for all of your other workouts. Instead, HIIT should be seen as an alternative approach to working out that might be a great use of your time, especially if you don’t have too much of it.
To learn more about the possible benefits of HIIT workouts, click here, and for any aches or pains you may be experiencing, contact ARS Hand & Physical Therapy in Springfield, NJ at 973-379-7006 to schedule an appointment today.