High-intensity Interval Training – High-intensity interval training, or HIIT, sounds pretty intimidating. But HIIT workouts are for EVERYONE—and they’re even better for those who are older or exercisers with completely unfit bodies.
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High-intensity Interval Training
Think of HIIT as a broader concept than intense fitness activity that takes the intensity off the charts, says exercise physiologist Katie Lawton, MEd. It’s a way of learning, not a particular schedule.
The Benefits Of High Intensity Interval Training (hiit)
The game plan with HIIT is to mix repetitive short bursts of higher intensity aerobic exercise into your workout. (Note “up”, not “up”)
“The focus is on varying the intensity level throughout the workout,” Lawton says. “This can mean going from low to moderate intensity or moderate to high intensity and then going down before ramping up the revs again.”
But if you’re aiming for high intensity, this is an effort level where you can only say a few words at a time. (Essentially, expect it to swell and sting.)
More specifically, high-intensity exercise usually means raising your heart rate to more than 70% of your heart rate. The basic formula for calculating your maximum heart rate is minus 220. (Learn more about exercise heart rate.)
Infographic: High Intensity Interval Training (hiit)
There are other formulas that can be helpful in determining a better goal. Lawton suggests the Carvone method, or heart rate reserve calculation, which uses your resting heart rate to determine your maximum heart rate.
Think of it as a series of mini challenges. Typically, you push harder for a short period of time (20 seconds to a few minutes) before slowing down with an equal or slightly longer active recovery period.
Repeat this process over and over throughout the workout. An effective HIIT session can last less than 10 minutes, plus warm-up and cool-down time. A cycle of 30 minutes is typical. Rarely do HIIT workouts last longer than an hour.
According to Lawton, aerobic exercise, a type of activity that can get your heart rate up, is ideal for a HIIT session. Possible measures include:
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How often you do HIIT depends on the intensity of your workout, but two to three days a week is a good goal.
For starters, HIIT means being physically active—a sweat routine few people can achieve on a regular basis. Research shows that only 28% of Americans meet weekly exercise guidelines.
Adults should aim for 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity per week, according to the US Department of Human Services.
HIIT can help you reach that goal and stay there. .
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As mentioned above, HIIT can often help reduce symptoms of chronic conditions such as heart disease and various types of arthritis, including rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis.
“They can help you set guidelines for safe and successful exercise,” Lawton says. “The goal should be to develop a program that can be run consistently to see potential benefits.”
Can’t do High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) because of your age? Think again. Our expert explains why you should try it. Two lines forming an “X”. Indicates a way to close the interaction or cancel the notification.
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Top 5 Benefits Of High Intensity Interval Training
Shorter, high-intensity workouts offer the same benefits as longer, moderate workouts—here’s how to get started and how they can transform your body
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If you want to take advantage of a shorter training period, consider high-intensity training.
With short, high-intensity interval training sessions, it’s possible to match or exceed the physical benefits people get from more frequent exercise.
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“Timing is everything for people,” Jason Barone, clinical director of Professional Physical Therapy, told Business Insider. “High-intensity workouts are great for a work out routine—you don’t need a gym, you can do them at home and expect a 20- to 30-minute workout.”
When Barone and other coaches talk about high-intensity training, there are several measures in place. The basic idea is that people train at full intensity for short periods of time instead of doing more moderate, 50-70% intensity. Some of these workouts involve jogging, some include bodyweight exercises, and others use weights or dumbbells.
High intensity training is not always better than regular training. There are good reasons for long workouts—they can help your body meet specific fitness goals, such as preparing your joints and muscles for the stress of a long race like a marathon. But intense training is often the best way to improve an athlete’s performance.
It can also have powerful health effects, helping people burn fat, lower blood pressure, and speed up metabolism.
Science And Application Of High Intensity Interval Training
Here’s why you might want to try high-intensity interval training and what you can do to get started.
Even a very small amount of effort, less than a minute, can have a powerful effect on overall fitness.
In a small study published in 2016, researchers had a group of men perform a 20-second multi-repetition workout with a brief warm-up, cool-down, and rest between sets. The results showed that the fitness levels of these participants improved significantly compared to men who exercised for 45 minutes at a moderate intensity.
Both groups showed about a 20 percent increase in their ability to use oxygen, called VO2 peak, which the authors use to indicate cardiorespiratory fitness. All participants also had a significant improvement in their body’s blood sugar behavior. Men in both groups had significantly increased amounts of mitochondria in their muscles, a sign of better cell function.
High Intensity Interval Training For Health Benefits And Care Of Cardiac Diseases
A fitness instructor leads a SoulCycle class in Union Square on April 13, 2011 in New York City. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
A recent small study published in the American Journal of Physiology showed that eight young adults completed three cycling exercises over three weeks in a randomized order.
One was a 30-minute moderate-intensity cycle at approximately 50% of maximal effort; the second involved 75% of maximal effort with four repetitions of four minutes, with one minute rest between each; and the third workout consisted of four 30-second sprints with a four-and-a-half-minute rest each.
Muscle biopsies before and after each workout showed similar responses—in each case, the cells responded similarly, indicating that the muscle-strengthening effort of each workout was similar, even if one was just two minutes of effort.
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One study found that people who started high-intensity exercise programs could increase their insulin sensitivity by 23-58%. The studies analyzed in this review ranged from two weeks to 16 weeks.
Insulin sensitivity helps people’s bodies regulate blood sugar levels. Researchers believe that high-intensity exercise plays a role because the regimen increases the muscles’ ability to take up glucose from the blood, so those muscles are ready for action.
Several studies show significant improvement in arterial stiffness (which causes high blood pressure) in people at risk of hypertension after 12-16 weeks of high-intensity exercise programs.
When you look at a training program designed to help someone get faster, stronger, or better at a sport, the program will include high intensity interval sets.
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Because these types of programs limit people, what you need to do to get better at the sport.
High-intensity interval training is more effective at improving VO2Max (a commonly used measure of how well the muscles use oxygen) than pure endurance training. Even people who don’t improve much with traditional training programs often see significant improvements after interval training.
To start a high-intensity exercise program, Barone recommends choosing a type of exercise that interests you.
At a basic level, any high-intensity interval program involves a warm-up and consists of several cycles of vigorous activity with short rest periods.
Beginners High Intensity Interval Training Routine
Researchers have studied many activities for 20 seconds at a time, but most studies show that people work at full intensity for one to four minutes before taking a short break. Then they repeat the cycle.
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