Want to get in shape for the summer? Here’s why high-intensity interval training (HIIT) could help improve your fitness and your health.
Getting fit is a crucial part of looking after your essential organs and keeping your muscles strong. It helps to reduce the internal fat that surrounds your organs, improving their ability to function properly. Plus, it boosts the cardiorespiratory system, which keeps the blood pumping around your body efficiently in order to fuel your organs with oxygen.
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is a method of exercising that involves short, fast bursts of exercise interspersed with periods of rest. It has been praised for its numerous health benefits and it can help you to get in shape quickly. Here are 10 benefits of incorporating HIIT into your fitness regime.
1. It improves your stamina
HIIT works on the principle of adaption, where the body adapts to the strain it is put under to improve its ability to cope. By pushing the body into the anaerobic zone, where the heart is performing to 80-90% of its maximum rate, the heart, lungs and muscles will learn to adapt to the challenge¹. Not only will a person find that the exercises become easier, they’re body will also be able to maintain speed and exertion during other forms of rigorous exercise².
2. It increases your strength
Anaerobic exercise has a tendency to make a person lose muscle as well as fat. HIIT, on the other hand, is proven to maintain muscle by training them to recover and rebuild themselves during the short period of rest. This helps to build strength quickly and is easily maintained by simply continuing with the HIIT regime².
3. You’ll burns lots of fat
HIIT is renowned for burning lots of calories and fat. In fact, it reportedly burns 13 calories per minute³ by pushing the body to meet the demands of the heart’s maximum rate. Opting for this type of training is great for those looking to lose fat, but should be balanced with a healthy diet that provides enough calories for sufficient fuel.
4. Your body will burn fat after your workout
Not only does HIIT burn lots of calories during the exercise itself, the fast programme increases a person’s resting metabolic rate. This means that the body will continue to burn calories after the workout has finished, making managing calorie intake much easier².
5. It keeps your heart healthy
Stable coronary artery disease is often described as clogging of arteries which can lead to heart attacks. A healthy diet and exercise is essential for preventing this build-up of plaque. A study in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology on patients with stable coronary artery disease concluded that after HIIT the participants’ VO2 peak increased by 17.9 percent. The VO2 peak measures the rate of oxygen the body consumes during exercise. These results show that HIIT can improve heart health and help to prevent, or even reverse, the symptoms of stable coronary artery disease.
6. It keeps you younger
The Human Growth Hormone, HGH, is produced by the body during childhood and adolescence to help a person grow and develop into adulthood. During HIIT, the production of the hormone is stimulated, which in turn increases hair and nail growth. So not only will HIIT help to keep you in shape, but you’ll maintain a youthful look, too².
7. It’s fast and therefore relieves stress
As well as being over quickly (a definite plus for those who aren’t keen on cardio exercise), it also means that it can be incorporated into a busy schedule. Plus, it requires the utmost concentration to maintain the high intensity levels. This distracts the brain from worrying about the stresses and concerns of everyday life, helping the mind to relax.
8. It can help to strengthen your bones
A lot of HIIT training can be done almost anywhere, so you can use the opportunity to get some fresh air. By exercising outside, the skin can absorb vital vitamin D from the sun, which helps to maintain healthy bones and teeth.
9. It can help regulate your blood sugar levels
Research conducted in Denmark showed that people with type 2 diabetes had better controlled blood sugar levels after 12 weeks of HIIT³. For people living with diabetes, this could make a huge difference to their lives, helping them to keep their blood sugar levels at a healthy rate. It’s good news for people who aren’t diabetes sufferers, too, as regulating blood sugar levels helps to maintain energy levels and avoid that mid-afternoon slump.
10. Eases muscle stiffness
A recent study in Poland on Parkinson’s disease sufferers found that after eight weeks of HIIT, the participants’ muscles were less rigid and much more comfortable³. This indicates that HIIT could relieve that stiff feeling a lot of people feel in the morning or after long periods of sitting or standing.
If you are suffering with an injury, always consult a physiotherapist or sports injury clinic before starting high-intensity interval training.
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