We’re all pretty busy and looking for time efficient ways to stay healthy and active. Between career, education, and family demands, there isn’t a lot of time to spend an hour or more working out every day. If you’re concerned about physical conditioning and endurance, but short on time, high intensity interval training could be just what you’re looking for.
Why High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)?
High intensity interval training, known as HIIT, consists of short bursts of intense effort followed by a recovery period. Repeat the cycle several times and you’ll reap many of the benefits of moderate, longer-duration exercise; but you’ll save yourself a lot of time. Instead of spending an hour working out, you can be done in about 1/2 of the time or less.
HIIT has been widely studied and has been shown beneficial even for those with health complications, such as Type 2 Diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. If you’re looking to lose weight without joining a gym or doing long workouts, HIIT can very effective.
How to Do HIIT
During your intense intervals, you should aim to boost your heart rate to at least 80% of your maximum. Basically, you want to be well out of your comfort zone. It might sound difficult, but after every tough interval, you get to rest. There is plenty of information available to help you get started and the type of exercise you use is up to you. You could design your workouts around biking, running outdoors, or on a treadmill. You could also use circuit training.
If you’re new to HIIT or to exercise altogether, here are some ideas on how you might get started as a beginner:
- 20 seconds of work, 10 seconds of rest.
Try punches, jumping jacks, running, cycling, or any combination.
- 45 seconds of work, 15 seconds of rest.
Include push-ups, tricep dips, side lunges, and squats.
- 60 seconds of work, 20 seconds of rest.
Do butt kicks, sumo squats, jump roping, and kicks.
No matter what exercises you choose to do, you can either repeat the same exercises for each cycle or change it up.
Your Workout, Your Choice
The great thing about high intensity interval training is that it’s completely flexible. You can change your workouts to fit your schedule, fitness level, and more. If you don’t like burpees or mountain climbers, you don’t have to do them. You don’t need to spend hours a day working out to get fit. Try HIIT workouts for a few weeks and see how your body — and your mind — may change. But remember, to be safe, it’s always best to talk to your doctor before starting a new exercise program.