Regularly going to the gym can often be a very time-consuming commitment, as you typically need to spend at least an hour there to get a solid workout in, and travel time can also quickly add up. Home workouts do at least eradicate the need for a commute, but they are more limited and are still quite time-consuming.
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is one potential solution to this problem – and it has many other benefits over more conventional workouts.
Before we take a look at the pros of HIIT, let’s first give you the basic.
What is High-Intensity Interval Training?
Workouts can generally be split into two main categories: interval training and continuous training. As you can tell from its name, HIIT is a type of interval training.
Continuous training involves exercising for longer, usually at a reasonably low to moderate intensity so you can sustain the workout. On the other hand, interval training consists of several relatively short workouts which are done at a higher intensity.
High-intensity interval training involves particularly high-intensity workouts. It’s usually best to get a mixture of aerobic and resistance exercises in your workout regimen, but this ultimately depends on your individual fitness goals.
So, to put it simply, a HIIT workout involves working out at a high intensity – usually for just a couple of minutes – before taking a short break and going again.
What Are the Pros of HIIT Workouts?
Aside from these workouts being shorter than continuous workouts and far more time-efficient, there are a few other important advantages.
Perhaps the greatest advantage of high-intensity interval training over continuous workouts is improved heart health. This is because working out at a high intensity brings you much closer to the limit and increases your heart rate much more than when doing a simple continuous exercise, so it can help you improve your VO2 max over time.
Another important pro of HIIT workouts is they can usually be much more fun and engaging than going for a 30 minute jog, for example.
It’s easy to understand why people may prefer a HIIT workout – there’s loads of variety in the types of workouts you can do and its more challenging nature makes it more engaging.
However, HIIT workouts aren’t always the best option. For example, if you’re trying to lose weight, you’re probably better off doing a longer cardio only workout, unless you can handle doing quite a few bursts of intense cardio.
A Quick Summary
- High-intensity interval training offers a number of benefits over more traditional exercise regimens.
- They essentially consist of working out for a short period of time at a really high intensity before having a short break and going again.
- HIIT workouts are more time-efficient than continuous exercise, and many people also find them to be more engaging, as they are more of a challenge and are more varied.
- High-intensity interval training is great for improving your heart health and increasing your VO2 max.
- However, it might not be the best way to lose weight, unless you are already reasonably fit.
- For most people, continuous exercise can be a better way to burn more calories and lose weight.