By: Sadaf Qadir
Exercise is often an important point of discussion in conversations about health. There are many obvious benefits to exercising such as weight control and preventing cardiovascular diseases. But exercising can also help reduce the risk of diabetes and some cancers, improve your mood, strengthen your bones, and increase your lifespan . With so many benefits to exercising, it is without a doubt an activity that we should be engaged in.
Regardless of the activity type, the American College of Sports Medicine suggests a combination of aerobic exercises and strength training as a part of weekly fitness training . One popular type of training that is on the rise is High Intensity Interval Training or HIIT. HIIT consists of intense workout periods that can range from 30 seconds to 8 minutes long followed by less intense periods of exercise for the same amount of time. Depending on intensity level and training, alternations between very intense exercises and low intense exercises can lastgo from anywhere between 20 minutes to 60 minutes per workout. Because of its versatility, HIIT has gained a lot of popularity. HIIT can be applied to many different exercise types such as walking, swimming, and group exercises making it is easy to include specific exercises and to modify the level of intensity .
High intensity training has also been interesting to researchers because of its many health benefits. Researchers have found that, in addition to the benefits gained from traditional exercising, it can allow a person to burn more calories than other workout regimes . Additionally, HIIT has been very effective in improving cardiovascular health [4, 7]. However, one of the most surprising positive effects is that it has also been found to improve blood-sugar levels in people with pre-diabetes and diabetes [5, 6]. This may be an important, costless preventative method for diabetes though there is still much research to be done to confirm its benefits. In other equally interesting research, there have been benefits in older adults in increasing muscle efficiency which is important in allowing them to maintain proper movement and strength .
As cardiovascular diseases and diabetes are on the rise, HIIT’s ability to reduce and treat them is important to understand. However, while there are many benefits to HIIT, it is not an exercise routine that can be implemented overnight. Since very high intensities of exercises are involved, people living sedentary lives have to ease into it slowly or else they may risk injury . Additionally, HIIT is only part of the weekly exercise routine and not the entire routine itself. It can be considered as endurance training and aerobic exercise but other exercises would still be required to maintain strength .
Overall, high intensity interval training is not just a popular trend. Researchers have shown and are continuing to show the positive benefits of HIIT, especially in those with diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and the elderly. A very accommodating type of exercise training, high intensity interval training can be implemented easily into many different people’s lives.
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