If you are like most people, you have probably thought about getting up and doing some exercise at some point today. If you are like most people, you opted to push it off until tomorrow.
No one would fault you for that. Exercise is time consuming and hard work.
While we know the benefits of exercise, we still can’t get out of our own way to do it most of the time.
There doesn’t seem to be an in-between when it comes to exercise either: most people either don’t do it at all or they do so much exercise that they are seen as “exercise fanatics.”
As a society, we tend to think that we need to go all in with our exercise routines in order to live a better life, but doctors have recently found that doing one certain type of exercise can help us live longer, healthier, and happier lives.
What the research study found
Doctors found that consistently doing HIIT or high-intensity interview training, even as late as age 65, can work as a heart tonic, boost oxygen intake by almost 20% and improve muscle by over 25%.
HIIT or high-intensity interval training is not a new concept, but it is still making its way up the popularity ladder in the exercise world.
As more people become aware of the benefits of engaging in HIIT exercises, more people are discovering that they don’t need to kill themselves at a gym 5 nights a week.
Doctors have said that engaging in just 30 minutes of HIIT each day is enough to build muscle, improve coordination and live a healthier life.
From the researcher’s mouths themselves:
“Based on a series of studies performed by our team over the past five years, this ‘dose’ of exercise has become my prescription for life,” said Levine. “I think people should be able to do this as part of their personal hygiene—just like brushing your teeth and taking a shower.”
What’s involved in HIIT you ask?
It’s pretty simple actually. The basic idea is that you do short bursts of high-intensity activity followed by a short period of rest or active rest.
For example, you might run on the spot for 45 seconds and then walk in place for 15 seconds to let your heart rate come down a bit.
You might do push-ups for 45 seconds and then walk in place for another 15 seconds. Whatever high-intensity activity you are doing, it usually alternates with a low-impact recovery period. This can also be done for up to 4 or 5 minutes at a time.
There are numerous Youtube videos that incorporate HIIT training programs for every activity level. Here is an example of a 20 minute workout of HIIT:
Learn to run programs use the theory behind HIIT to strengthen runners over time.
If you have ever tried a C25K program (couch to 5K) in which the new runner can develop from having no running skills to being able to run 5 kilometers in a period of time.
People start out running for 1 minute at a time and then walking for 1 minute at a time.
Then, as they progress through the program, they run for 5 or 6 minutes and walk for 1 minute.
Exercise chains such as Curves, which is a gym for women, uses HIIT theory in a 30-minute workout circle where women give it all they’ve got on hydraulic machines for 1 minute and then walk or dance or do whatever they want at a rest station for 1 minute.
The idea of challenging your body and then letting it rest has a number of benefits.
Doctors report that increasing and decreasing activity in a short period of time can strengthen the heart and lungs and even improve brain function.
What’s more, people who engage in HIIT-style activities may be able to handle stress better because they are constantly prepping their body for something harder and more challenging while they workout.
HIIT is a fun and fast way to get in shape. It’s not just for beginners though, people of all activity levels can benefit from incorporating HIIT workouts into their routines because it incorporates several different exercises into one workout.
Changing up the activity keeps your body guessing and keeps it developing over time.
Doctors recommend doing 1 intense HIIT session per week for 30-60 minutes, and doing moderate level HIIT sessions 1-2 times per week in addition to the intense session.
It’s also a good idea to incorporate strength training sessions in once a week where you focus on building muscle with weights or kettlebells.
So not only are you changing up your intensity during your workout, but you are also changing the intensity across the entire routine in a given week.
Strength training is slower and meant to tone and build muscle, while HIIT is designed to burn calories and fat. It’s the perfect prescription for life.