Friday Five: Reasons to Switch to High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

High-intensity interval training isn’t just good because you spend less time in the gym. It’s your fastest path to better health. Here are five reasons to try it today.

Health Watch readers know that when it comes to exercise, we recommend high-intensity interval training. HIIT is all about maximizing results while minimizing time spent in the gym. The average session lasts 20 minutes or less. But don’t let the duration fool you… This kind of exercising comes with health benefits traditional cardio can’t replicate.

Here are five reasons to switch to HIIT:

1. Eases Depression: Drugs for depression carry serious side effects…like insomnia, hypertension, and even suicide. Meanwhile, one study found more than 60% of subjects doing HIIT cut their depression symptoms in half. It only took eight weeks to see results.1   

2. Promotes Heart Health: Too much exercise works against your heart. Marathon-style running can leave your heart scarred. This can lead to heart failure and even death. But HIIT works differently. Two weeks of HIIT raises your aerobic capacity—VO2max—just as much as two months of steady-state cardio. This puts less strain on your heart over time. And research shows a high VO2max could be the best predictor of 10-year survival rates among heart disease patients.2

3. Helps You Lose Weight Quicker: A Canadian study looked at the difference between HIIT and incline walking. Researchers found subjects burned twice as much fat with 12 minutes of HIIT than with an hour of uphill walking after six weeks. It even helps you hold on to your muscle mass better than steady-state cardio exercise.

4. Reduces Risk of Stroke: You know exercise can help save your heart… But HIIT may also help reduce your risk of stroke by as much as 63%. Research shows engaging in HIIT increases oxygen uptake and aerobic capacity. These two factors may even help prevent a stroke after you’ve already had one. Yet moderate or steady-state exercise won’t lead to an improvement.3 Even better, the protective effects of HIIT can last for months after your last session.4

5. Extend Your Life: It’s not just a theory… Researchers in one study found 75 minutes of exercise a week may make you 31% less likely to die after 14 years.5 But the best way to get there is with several HIIT sessions a week. That’s because switching to HIIT can also lower your overall death risk by about 30%. In other words, five days of HIIT a week could be the fastest path to adding healthy years to your life.

The basic formula for HIIT is simple. Just warm up for 3–5 minutes…then sprint at an all-out pace for the next 30–60 seconds. Then slow to a jog for the next minute or two. Repeat this process 5–7 times and then cool down for at least two minutes.

It only takes about 15 minutes. And you can apply the HIIT principal to just about any type of cardio exercise. We recommend using a treadmill, stationary bike, or elliptical machine at first. But once you have it down, you can take it anywhere… Try it in the pool during these upcoming summer months.

In Good Health,

Angela Salerno
Publisher, INH Health Watch

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Health Topic: Diet and Nutrition | Fitness and Exercise | Top 5's | Weight Loss

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