Don’t Have Time to Exercise? With HIIT, You Do
It won’t come as a shock to read that incorporating regular physical activity into your life is proven to boost energy, improve mood, battle common health conditions and help maintain weight levels. We know you’ve heard this before – exercise also strengthens your heart, promotes better sleep and revs up your sex drive.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, you say. But who has the time?
Perhaps one of the most common excuses we all use for not including more exercise in our daily lives is lack of time. From work to grocery shopping to various kids’ after-school activities, we barely get a moment for an extra cup of coffee, never mind the 30+ minutes of physical activity recommended by the Department of Health and Human Services. As important to our health as we know exercise to be, it’s usually the first item to get pushed off our “to-do” lists.
But, what if your workout took less time than it takes to drink that cup of coffee?
Engaging in high intensity interval training (HIIT) can cut your exercise commitment time in half.
Double the Effort, Half the Time
High intensity exercising involves pushing your heartrate up to 75% of its maximum capacity. Typically, these workouts require shorter bursts of high-energy routines done in internals with periods of rest. They sometimes combine cardio and strength training, in order to get more full body exercises done in the least amount of time.
Although longer, slower workouts also burn fat and calories, HIIT does it more effectively. In fact, after a high intensity workout, your body will continue to burn at a higher rate of calories for up to 24 hours after your workout – even while you are sitting on the couch!
HIIT Better for Health?
For decades, health-conscious citizens have dutifully laced up their running shoes to jog leisurely around the neighborhood in order to garner the benefits of increased lung capacity and strengthened heart muscles.
Although none of them were wasting their time doing it, they could have gotten it done more quickly and efficiently through HIIT. A 2006 study published in the Journal of Physiology found that compared to longer periods of traditional endurance training, shorter periods of sprint interval training produced similar muscle capacity and exercise performance.
Spending hours on the treadmill may strengthen your heart, but it won’t build muscle throughout the rest of your physique, as it only works you aerobically- meaning your body is using oxygen rather than its own stored energy to fuel your metabolism. You may even find that any fat you lose is accompanied by some muscle. Conversely, HIIT works your body both aerobically and anaerobically. Anaerobic conditions happen when the intensity of your physical exertion exceeds your available oxygen, thus requiring your body to rely on alternate fuel sources, say those extra slices of cheesecake you’ve had stored in your hips since last summer….
Don’t get us wrong – any kind of exercise is better than none. But, if you’ve been using “lack of time” as your excuse du jour for years now, you’d better think up a new one. Because, HIIT will get you fitter faster without the typical commitment.
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