Recently heard of HIIT, but unsure what it is? HIIT stands for high-intensity interval training (HIIT) which pertains to alternating between fixed intervals of high-intensity and low-intensity or resting exercises. Some research suggests that 60 minutes of HIIT over the course of a week is as effective as 150-300 minutes of moderate activity – which is recommended by the World Health Organization. HIIT is immensely effective and follows a deceptively simple format that you can apply to almost any type of exercise, for example:
- Ramp up for 1 minute.
- Go hard for 1 minute.
- Drop back down to a comfortable pace for 3 minutes.
The list of benefits HIIT delivers is long, including: improving aspects of muscular health, reducing blood pressure, reducing blood sugar, improving mental health, and activating longevity pathways.
HIIT helps preserves muscle and muscle function
HIIT increases human growth hormone (HGH), a necessary hormone for muscle growth, as well as muscle and bone preservation, and supports metabolism. HGH decreases with age. HIIT also helps boost muscle function by improving muscular oxygen consumption, which helps muscles perform better during activity and recover effectively post-activity.
HIIT helps to reduce blood pressure
In individuals who are overweight, or who have high blood pressure, research has shown that HIIT is able to healthfully decrease blood pressure.
HIIT helps to reduce blood sugar
A wealth of research has shown that HIIT reduces blood sugar, and improves insulin sensitivity, especially when compared to traditional, moderate intensity training. In individuals who have type 2 diabetes, HIIT offers the same benefits.
HIIT improves mental health
Research shows that HIIT also eases scores of depression, stress and overall mental well-being. HIIT boosts the production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which aids with cell repair, mood and cognition.
HIIT activates longevity pathways
HIIT promotes the renewal of the mitochondrial network, or mitochondrial biogenesis, in muscles by creating proteins, which also promotes ribosomal health – essentially slowing aging. Mitochondrial biogenesis declines with age. As you go through your day, your mitochondria are hard at work, producing the energy molecule ATP and they also play a key role in how well your heart, brain and the rest of you functions. They even influence how fast or slowly you age, so taking good care of your mitochondria is a major wellness win for your body. HIIT also promotes “autophagy,” the body’s youth-supporting cellular repair and cleaning system.
Beneficial, longevity-boosting and easy-to-adapt – what more could you want? Consider adding HIIT into your health repertoire – it is an impactful way to start your day and can even be a reinvigorating activity to add in on a quick work break – all you need is a place to do it, whether that be your home office, a park or the gym, is your decision. And, remember, don’t overdo it!