Much discussion has evolved around the subject of how much exercise is needed to yield health and weight loss benefits. Athletes are looking for a performance edge and we are looking for how we can fit exercise and our favorite training into a busy schedule.
Research out of McMaster University has looked at how HIIT training ( high intensity interval training) vs more traditional, longer, moderate – intensity cardio exercise stacked up on cardiovascular benefits. The researchers were most interested in how the 2 types of exercises impacted cardiorespiratory fitness and insulin sensitivity. The sprint- interval group’s total exercise session lasted just 10 minutes ( 2 minute warmup, several 20 second all out cycle sprints followed by a 2 minute recovery spin and 3 minute cool down). The moderate exercise group featured 45 minutes of continuous cycling.
When examining cardiovascular fitness and blood sugar control improvements, the high intensity group results were nearly identical to the moderate exercise group. Furthermore, HIIT which features short burts of high intensity training, with slow recovery phases repeated in one session may hold the key to other benefits.
– Promotes greater oxygen uptake as measured by VO2 Max testing. This is the best indicator of cardiovascular endurance.
– Triggers an excess post exercise oxygen ( EPOC) effect. This aids in recovery and repair ( hormonal support, glucose regulation and muscle tissue). Additionally, after EPOC, fatty acids become oxidized and are used by the body for energy.
– New ATP ( body’s fuel source) is also synthesized.
1. Anti-Aging: HIIT has an epigenetic effect on aging genes – by deactivating specific genes that are involved in accelerating the aging process.
2. According to research out of the U.K. it helps regulate certain hunger hormones ( leptin and ghrelin) that is essential to weight control and management.
3. HIIT has also proven to be very effective in metabolizing excess body fat.
4. HIIT can be implemented cycling, running, jump rope, jumping jacks, upper and lower body – weight training ( push ups, squats, squat- jumps, ploy- jumps, etc.
So if you are pressed for time or simply cannot get motivated to workout for 45 minutes or more, you now have the green light to embrace fitness and reap the same benefits. Furthermore, extended training that is often associated with endurance training is often linked to overuse and over- training injuries and chronic elevated cortisol levels which increase your risk for inflammation and many diseases. It has been also pointed out that more research is needed to see if HIIT is beneficial to brain health – stay tuned.