H.I.I.T. What is it good for?
By Jacob Yount EP-C ACSM
H.I.I.T. Those 4 letters together seem a little intense. The acronym itself seems like it hurts, but it doesn’t, and it is a great way to change the pace of your cardiovascular exercise. If you are like me, steady state exercise drives you crazy. If I’m not going somewhere while I’m running or biking, there’s a chance I’ve already stopped. This is where HIIT comes in.
That 4-letter acronym stands for High Intensity Interval Training. The premise is to get your heartrate up for a designated amount of time, resting for a short duration, and doing it again repeatedly. HIIT is great because it can be done by anyone, regardless of fitness level and can be done in so many ways. For example, you are a runner, but the treadmill isn’t for you. Take it outside, run off and on sprints. Or if you aren’t quite up to running yet, find a pace you can jog to then switch back and forth to walking. HIIT is engaging, efficient, and a great way to increase your cardiovascular health.
According to the American College of Sports Medicine, HIIT workouts provide similar cardiovascular benefits as doing continuous endurance exercise. But there’s a catch: THE WORKOUTS ARE SHORTER. Generally, HIIT workouts burn more calories than steady state exercise during and after the workout in a shorter amount of time.
After your workout, your body goes into something called the “EPOC” which is short for excess post-exercise oxygen consumption. This is normally about a 2-hour window post exercise that your body is trying to get itself back to its pre-exercise self. This process burns calories and because of the intense nature of HIIT, your body can burn 6-15% more calories with a HIIT workout (acsm.org).
Things to remember;
- Because HIIT workouts are at a higher intensity level, listen to your body and jump in slowly. Remember to pace yourself!
- Ask for help. Feel free to ask any of your wellness staff for help with your workout.
So, if you want to burn more calories, spend less time doing, have more fun exercising, and get a great heart healthy exercise, HIIT is right for you.