What is High Intensity Interval Training?

The national physical activity guidelines for Australians recommends that adults should participate in at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise most days of the week, with participation in more vigorous exercise on top of this for further improvements in health and fitness. But for many people, fitting this amount of exercise into their busy schedules proves to be too difficult of a task. In recent times more time efficient, high intensity forms of exercise such as spin bike classes and boxing have increased in popularity. These forms of exercise fall into the category of exercise called high intensity interval training (HIIT). HIIT has been shown to result in similar or even greater benefits for health and fitness than exercise for longer durations at lower intensity, making it a more time efficient and effective form of exercise for improving health and fitness.

HIIT incorporates short bursts of high intensity exercise periods, with rest or low intensity exercise periods in between; rather than just maintaining constant exercise intensity. These intervals can vary in terms of the work to rest valium 10 mg ratio depending on an individual’s fitness levels and goals. For example, a highly trained athlete may complete a 1:1 work to rest ratio of 30 seconds high intensity exercise followed by 30 seconds of low intensity exercise. A less fit individual starting out with HIIT may use a 1:4 work to rest ratio with 10 seconds of high intensity exercise followed by 40 seconds of lower intensity exercise to allow for greater recovery between efforts. This means that HIIT can be specifically tailored to each individual’s health and fitness goals, rather than just a one size fits all approach.

hiitLong duration steady state exercise is often prescribed for fat loss as the longer an individual exercises for, the greater percentage of energy from fat is utilised, where as more high intensity exercise uses a greater percentage of carbohydrates for energy. Although this is true, HIIT can actually utilise more fat for energy compared to steady state exercise, as the overall amount of energy used in high intensity exercise is much higher. Therefore by participating in specifically designed HIIT, you can achieve greater health and fitness results with only a short duration of exercise compared to long duration low intensity exercise, making it a highly economical form of exercise for people living increasingly busy lives.

By Jack Hickey
Exercise Physiologist at MD Health Pilates

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