It’s no secret that I love a little variety in my fitness routines. I’m pretty sure that I’ve tried it all… Cardio, Zumba, Tai Chi, Weightlifting, Cross-fit and many others… I’ve never been afraid of trying anything new and/or different when it comes to my fitness. After all, one could potentially discover a new fitness routine that’s loaded with fun, health and fitness benefits.
Enter: the HIIT workout. For those of you NOT in the know, HIIT stands for High-intensy Interval Training and features (as the name suggests) intense intervals of cardiovascular exercise mixed with short rest periods. These workouts usually let about half an hour, although some of them have been known to last a bit longer, depending on one’s endurance and fitness levels.
HIIT workouts can have a number of benefits, including fat burning, muscle gain and improved blood sugars. But I’m going to focus on 7 benefits of High-intensity interval training as discussed in an article posted by Heathline.com:
- You can burn calories quickly in a short period of time: This is one that’s come up in most of the articles I’ve read on the subject. And the general consensus is that you can burn more calories in less time during a HIIT workout than you would with something traditional like cycling or weight lifting;
- Your metabolic rate remains high for hours afterwards: an increased metabolism will lend a score of benefits that I won’t bother covering in this post, but a HIIT workout will do it for you. In fact, it will do it more effectively than other traditional workouts;
- The fat-burning benefits: Okay, I’ll be the first one to admit that fat-burning is not only one of the most sought-after benefits of any fitness regiment, I’ve often written about how no matter what “gimmick” workout you may doing, there is only one way to effectively burn fat: to burn more calories than you take in. However, a study named in the article I linked above showed a 17% reduction in visceral fat, or the disease-promoting fat surrounding your internal organs, when doing HIIT workouts;
- You could gain muscle: Alright, I won’t touch on this too much because the reality is that any consistent and intense workout regiment will help you gain muscle. This shouldn’t come as a surprise. And a “high-intensity” workout would be no different…;
- It could improve your oxygen consumption: In this regard, they’re referring to the fact that HIIT workouts will help your muscles to use oxygen more effectively, and will do so in half the time of a traditional workout;
- It can reduce heart rate and blood pressure: This has been shown to be prominent mostly in overweight and obese individuals, but it’s an important health benefit nonetheless;
- It can help reduce your blood sugar: Seriously?! Woohoo to that! being a Type-1 Diabetic, I’d rather have to consume carbs than burn them. Research has shown that HIIT workouts can not only be extremely beneficial to those with Type-2 Diabetes but can help to improve insulin-resistance.
The good thing about HIIT workouts is that it allows you to reap the benefits of most standard workouts in only half the time. Like any workout, you should consult your medical practitioner before starting ANY fitness regiment, and pay close attention to how a change in fitness routine affects your blood sugars. After all, variety may be the spice of life, but Diabetes will keep you seasoned with complications. ☯
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