19 Benefits Of High-Intensity Interval Training
What is High-intensity Interval Training?
HIIT, or high-intensity interval training, is a type of workout that alternates between periods of all-out effort and active recovery.
The effort you put in is so intense that you can only sustain it for a short period of time, typically no more than a few minutes.
The goal is to get your heart rate up and then let it recover before you push yourself again.
Why is HIIT So Effective?
The reason why HIIT is so effective is down to a little-known term called "post-oxygen consumption", or EPOC.
EPOC is the amount of oxygen that your body needs to return to its resting state after a workout.
The more intense the workout, the more oxygen your body will need and the greater the EPOC.
In essence, EPOC raises your metabolism and helps you burn more calories not just during the workout, but also afterward.
In this article, we'll look at 14 benefits of HIIT that have been backed by science:
Fitness and Exercise Benefits
1. HIIT Increases Metabolism
Research has shown that HIIT increases your resting metabolic rate (RMR).
This is the number of calories your body burns at rest.
That means that you'll continue to burn more calories even after the workout is over.
2. HIIT Burns More Fat
HIIT workouts help you burn more fat in less time than traditional cardio.
This is because HIIT raises your heart rate and keeps it elevated for an extended period of time, which causes your body to burn more calories.
3. HIIT Builds Muscle (kind of)
More accurately, HIIT makes you look more chiseled and defined.
That's because, during HIIT workouts, your muscles are working at maximal capacity, which helps to build muscle.
4. HIIT Improves Cardiovascular Health
One of the major benefits of HIIT is that it improves your cardiovascular health.
HIIT workouts help to increase your heart rate and improve blood flow, which in turn helps to reduce your risk of heart disease.
5. HIIT Boosts Brainpower
Did you know that HIIT can help to improve your cognitive function?
HIIT has been shown to increase levels of BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor), a protein that helps to improve brain function.
6. HIIT improves your stamina
Endurance runners who used a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) program (two to three HIIT sessions each week, with CR runs) increased maximal oxygen uptake and running economy, as well as muscular and metabolic changes.
7. It increases your strength
To be fair, any exercise that you do on a consistent basis will increase your strength.
But HIIT, in particular, has been shown to help improve your maximal strength (the amount of force your muscles can produce).
8. It lowers your risk of injuries
One of the benefits of HIIT is that it helps to reduce your risk of injuries.
This is because HIIT workouts help to improve your range of motion and flexibility, which in turn helps to prevent injuries.
9. Equipment is not necessary
The vast majority of HIIT workouts can be done with no equipment at all.
This makes HIIT a great option for people who don't have access to a gym or who don't want to invest in workout equipment.
Popular workouts without equipment include:
- Commandos. Targets: Core, back, shoulders, chest, arms, glutes, quads, calves.
- Mountain climbers.
- Runner's lunge.
- Walk out with push-ups.
- Speed skaters.
- High knees.
10. You’ll more likely to stick to it
HIIT gives you so much energy and feel-good endorphins that it’s hard not to come back for more.
It’s also short enough that you won’t get bored, and if you do HIIT with friends or a group, it can be a fun bonding experience.
You’ll feel accomplished when you finish, which makes it more likely that you’ll keep up the good work.
11. You don't need a lot of time
If you don't have a lot of time to exercise, HIIT is the perfect solution.
HIIT workouts are typically shorter than traditional workouts, yet they're just as effective.
In fact, HIIT workouts can be as short as 10 minutes, making them perfect for busy people.
12. HIIT workouts can boost your endurance
HIIT sessions are an extremely powerful and time-saving way to increase the fatigue resistance, lactate threshold, race performance, and exercise efficiency.
HIIT should make up approximately 15% of an endurance athlete's overall training volume, with a maximum of two weekly workouts.
13. HIIT can increase VO2 max
What is VO2 Max?
It's a measure of the amount of oxygen your body can consume.
And it turns out that HIIT can help to improve VO2 max, which in turn can help to improve your overall fitness level.
Interval training induces your heart to work at a maximum level for brief periods, followed by rests.
Because you're pushing your heart rate to high levels, you'll naturally improve your VO2 max as a result of HIIT.
14. You'll burn lots of fat
Did you know that consistently doing HIIT forces your body to better use stored fat as energy?
This is because HIIT workouts help to increase your metabolism and reduce your body fat percentage.
15. Your body will burn fat after your workout
HIIT can raise your metabolism for hours after exercise since it is a high-intensity workout.
This leads to extra calories being burned even after you've stopped working out.
16. It keeps your heart healthy
Low-volume high-intensity interval training improves cardiorespiratory fitness, according to studies.
Even small improvements in heart health have been linked to a 30% reduction in serious cardiovascular events such as heart attack and stroke.
17. It keeps you younger
High-intensity interval training, as compared to other types of exercise, is the most efficient way to improve cardiorespiratory fitness, increase metabolism, and preserve muscle.
According to recent research from the Mayo Clinic, HIIT has another advantage over other workouts: It reverses cellular aging.
18. It can help to strengthen your bones
The HIIT routine will often include activities such as burpees, boxing, and jumping jacks.
Because there is so much rapid movement, HIIT is an excellent method to work out your muscles and bones at the same time.
19. It's good for your mental health
HIIT has been shown to improve mental well-being, depression severity, and perceived stress in individuals who do not exercise regularly.
In healthy populations as well as those suffering from physical ailments, HIIT produces modest gains in mental wellbeing when compared with other forms of exercise.
High-intensity interval training, or HIIT, is a great way to get in shape without having to go to the gym or invest in any equipment. This may not be the initial aim, but it's a great perk.
Since it is such a short workout, the likelihood of you getting bored or not having enough time is much lower.
HIIT has many benefits, including increased fat burning, improved heart health, and strengthened bones. It can also improve your mental well-being.
So what are you waiting for? Get HIITing!