Differing from moderate-intensity aerobic exercise, high intensity interval training (HIIT) consists of alternating short periods of intense exercise with recovery periods of low to moderate-intensity movement.
HIIT has long been an important training strategy for competitive athletes and is very effective at stimulating physiologic adaptations that lead to improved performance. Although the risk of musculoskeletal injury and cardiac events is increased with higher intensity exercise, HIIT undertaken as an athletic training component has been historically associated with minimal risk. Research studies using subjects with a variety of health conditions and older adults suggest similarly low cardiovascular event rates, consistent with the more commonly used moderate-intensity aerobic training method.
Benefits of HIIT include:
▪ improved aerobic and anaerobic fitness
▪ improved insulin sensitivity, glucose tolerance, and lipid profiles
▪ reduced arterial stiffness and improved blood pressure
▪ increased skeletal muscle fat oxidation
▪ increased post-exercise metabolism
▪ enhanced weight loss
▪ reduced abdominal and subcutaneous fat
▪ increased exercise adherence
Mixing one to two HIIT sessions into the weekly training program will stimulate additional physiologic adaptations, provide training variety, and add an element of fun to the workout.