The benefits of HIIT [high intensity interval training] are well known…or are they? I will outline the benefits to including a HIIT program into your training schedule; especially for those of us that are North of 50 or damn near.
Exercise is beneficial to all, but high intensity interval training can increase cognitive ability, improved mental and physical energy, and may extend life, a study, “Generation 100” suggests, say researchers from Norway. More than 1,500 people in their seventies participated in an exercise study called the Generation 100. Those who had five years of high-intensity interval training showed increased mental and physical quality of life, improved fitness and lived longer than the average Norwegian, reported Dorthe Stensvold, Ph.D., of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. [i]
HIIT is a term for workouts that involve short periods of intense exercise alternated with rest periods. One of the biggest rewards of HIIT is that you can get max health benefits in minimal time. Typically, a HIIT workout will range from 10 to 30 minutes in duration but can go up to 45 minutes depending upon fitness level. Despite how short the workout is, it can produce double the health benefits compared to 30 minutes on a stationary bike. The exercise being performed varies but can include sprinting, air squats, jump rope, push-ups, or other body weight exercises.
For example, a HIIT workout using body weight exercise could consist of 30 seconds of squats as fast as possible, followed by 30 seconds of burpees, followed by 30 seconds of crunches, finally followed by 30 seconds of rest. This round can be repeated as often as desired. Regardless of how it is executed, high-intensity intervals should involve short periods of vigorous exercise that raise your heart rate, followed by a short rest period.
Here are some benefits to HIIT.
HIIT Can Burn a butt load of Calories in a Short Amount of Time
Compared to 30 minutes on a stationary bike or treadmill or 30 minutes of weight training, HIIT can burn 25–30% more calories in the same amount of time.
Your Metabolic Rate Is Higher for Hours After Exercise
Imagine a world where your metabolic rate is steady cranking away on high while you sit on your couch and binge watch Mike & Molly©. Well, that world is HIIT. High intensity interval training can increase your metabolic rate for hours after the exercise has ceased. Due to the intensity of the workout, HIIT can elevate your metabolism for hours after exercise. This results in additional calories being burned even after you have finished exercising.[ii]
It Can Help You Lose Fat
HIIT can target fat when the metabolic rate is high. Fat will be used as primary fuel. Additionally, one study found that people performing HIIT three times per week for 20 minutes per session lost 4.4 pounds, or 2 kgs, of body fat in 12 weeks — without any dietary changes.[iii]
HIIT Can Improve Oxygen Consumption
Oxygen consumption refers to your muscles’ ability to use oxygen. HIIT can improve oxygen consumption. Consistency is key, perform HIIT 3x a week to see definite results. This mean you won’t get out of breath going up a flight of stairs or trying to tie your shoes.
It Can Reduce Heart Rate and Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is prevalent in the over 50 crowd, but it doesn’t have to be. As we all know high blood pressure can lead to a whole slew of horrible heath issues. HIIT may have positive effects on blood pressure.
A large amount of research indicates that it can reduce heart rate and blood pressure in overweight and obese individuals, who often have high blood pressure. High-intensity interval training lowers blood pressure and improves apelin and NOx plasma levels in older hypertensive individuals.[iv] The effective exercise training regime was for three 35-min sessions a week for 6 weeks.
It’s the best thing for you so why not include it in your training. HIIT will literally save your life. It will be difficult at first. I will never tell you any exercise regimen is “easy” or “simple”. If [they] were, everyone would be in shape. It is tough! But it will get easier and you will see results that will propel you into doing more and reaching, once thought, impossible goals!
Let’s HIIT it!
[i] (https://www.physiciansweekly.com/, 2020) [ii] (http://www.healthline.com/2020) [iii] (http://www.healthline.com/2020) [iv] National Library of Medicine, Mohammad Reza Izadi, Alireza Ghardashi Afousi, Maryam Asvadi Fard, Mohammad Ali Babaee Bigi/2017