By: Dr. Glenn J Lundy
There are a ton of different approaches to exercise. One of the more popular ways to challenge and change your fitness levels is HIIT or High-Intensity Interval Training. HIIT is defined by short intense bursts of exercise designed to deprive the muscles of oxygen to increase and maximize athletic performance.
HIIT is all about performing at your maximum ability for a short burst of time and then taking a short break. If this sounds like it resembles the demands of most sports, you would be correct. Focused quick movements are utilized in track, tennis, martial arts, football, baseball, basketball, soccer….Ok, just about every sport, LOL. If you’re looking to get better at your game, you should encompass HIIT exercises into your routine.
Some of the more popular HIIT exercises include Box Jumps, Jump Knee Tucks, Clapping Push-ups, Burpees, Lunges to High Knees, Jumping Jacks, and Mountain Climbers. There are many others.
Well, what if you’re not playing a sport? Why would you engage in this type of exercise?
4 Best Benefits of HITT workout
First of all, HIIT exercises are at the top of the list for burning calories and will accelerate weight loss in a short period of time. The intensity of the exercise leads to an increased rate of fat oxidation as well as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, which occurs when your body recovers from its oxygen-deprived state during the HIIT exercise. During this stage, adipose tissues are broken down and converted into fuel. Participants can burn the same number of calories in a 20-minute HIIT workout than in an hour of consistent cardio or 45 minutes of lifting weights.
If you’re prone to overeating, HIIT will help you manage your appetite. The intensity of HIIT causes a decrease in the amount of ghrelin – an appetite-regulating hormone – which reduces your appetite. At the same time, HIIT also increases your blood sugar and blood lactate levels temporarily, which also brings your appetite down. People suffering from pre-diabetes or type-2 diabetes can benefit significantly from HIIT because it increases glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity, helping to regulate blood glucose at healthy levels.
HIIT increases the amount of oxygen your body can absorb in a minute. This rate is known as VO2max. VO2max is important because it affects the physical capacity of your athletic performance. With a higher VO2max, your body has better endurance in aerobic exercises. Besides improving athletic conditioning, an increased VO2max also brings us better overall health.
VO2max is strongly associated with the health of our telomeres, which are components of our DNA system that regulate the aging of our cells. Healthy telomeres mean more youthful cells and a reduced risk of cancer.
HIIT helps you improve and maintain a healthy posture. As a chiropractor, this resonates with me as it should you. Your posture is dictated by your spine. Its function is to support your body and aid in protecting your central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) from injury, so it’s pretty darn important because your brain and spinal cord connect, control, communicate and send energy to every cell, organ, muscle, and tissue in your body.
Your posture is a roadmap to your past injuries and a predictor of your future Musculoskeletal and neurological problems. If you strengthen the muscles that support your posture, you substantially decrease your susceptibility to injury, arthritis, and nerve damage.
So, how do I start with HIIT?
Well before you attempt any type of exercise program, make sure you are medically capable of undertaking the program. If you have any questions or doubts as to your capabilities, please consult your physician.
There are a number of ways to structure your exercise-to-rest ratio. Some people prefer 1:1 exercise-to-rest ratio, but a 1:2 or 1:3 ratio work perfectly fine too. The best time depends on your current fitness level, so if you don’t exercise regularly, a longer rest time would be more ideal. HIIT exercise routines benefit the participant most when there is a day of rest in between. Your body heals and replenishes at rest.
The most important thing to know before starting these exercises are your limits. You can only properly train and gain when you push yourself past your comfort zone without inviting injury. You might have to do a few rounds of these exercises before you know how hard to push and when to wind down.
HIIT exercises are ideal for someone who is looking to build strength and endurance while losing weight.
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