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High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT): Benefits and Drawbacks

High-intensity interval training, or HIIT, is a type of exercise that has been gaining popularity in recent years. This form of exercise involves short bursts of high-intensity activity alternated with periods of lower-intensity activity or rest. Proponents of HIIT claim that it can provide a wealth of benefits. However, you should be aware of some drawbacks to this type of training before starting a HIIT program. So to help you learn more, this article will explore both the pros and cons of this exercise style.

How Does High-Intensity Interval Training Work


As the introduction mentions, High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) involves alternating periods of high-intensity and low-intensity exercise. The intense periods are short bursts that raise the heart rate quickly, often followed by a slower recovery period. When performing HIIT, you will often use a timer to help you keep track of the short bursts and rest periods.

Some gyms offer HIIT classes for those interested in performing their workout, amongst others. It often includes exercises like sprints, burpees, jumping jacks, and other forms of cardio. And depending on the intensity of your workout, you may be able to complete your HIIT routine in as little as 10-15 minutes.

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Benefits Of HIIT

For those interested in trying this style of exercise, it can be helpful to get an understanding of all the benefits it has to offer. Here is a look at some of the most compelling reasons to give it a shot:

Burn Calories Quickly


HIIT has made it easier to burn calories quickly and get great results. The quick bursts of intense exercise can elevate your heart rate much higher than any long, steady-state workout, resulting in the body burning more calories in a shorter period.

Not only that, but studies have also shown that these types of workouts can help to build lean muscle mass while you’re burning fat – which can accelerate weight loss even more – so you don’t need to worry about cutting corners when you’re doing HIIT.

Improve Oxygen Consumption


HIIT also has a range of cardiorespiratory benefits. Research on HIIT has revealed that those who partake in this type of exercise experience significantly increased maximal oxygen uptake compared to individuals who partake in traditional steady-state cardio formats. This exercise facilitates improved oxygen consumption, translating to increased muscular endurance, overall fitness level, and heightened aerobic performance capabilities.

This increased oxygen uptake can benefit athletes looking to increase their performance during competitions or boost their general fitness level. It may also help with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Reduce Blood Pressure


Working out can have immense benefits for your health, with HIIT being one of the most effective forms. Not only does it help you to keep a healthy weight, but HIIT is especially beneficial when it comes to reducing blood pressure. This form of exercise maximizes oxygen uptake and increases something called nitric oxide production in the body, both of which work together to reduce the strain on your cardiovascular system.

Nitric oxide helps to relax the walls of your blood vessels, resulting in improved blood flow and reduced pressure on your heart. This can help to keep your cardiovascular system healthy and reduce the risk of high blood pressure or other related conditions.

Reduce Blood Sugar


For those struggling with their blood sugar, HIIT allows for short bursts of intense exercise with rest periods, making it an efficient way of burning off excess glucose. Not only that, but HIIT also helps improve insulin sensitivity and increases the body’s ability to process glucose more efficiently.

By engaging in these short bursts that move from low-intensity to high-intensity exercises, HIIT provides an effective way to speed up your metabolism, so you can burn more calories and lower your fasting blood sugar levels. In addition, completing HIIT workouts regularly may help you reduce the potential risk of diabetes and all its related complications.

Drawbacks Of HIIT

Even with all those amazing benefits, it is essential to remember that HIIT workouts may not be suitable for everyone. Here are a few things to consider when deciding if it’s the right type of exercise for you:

Higher Risk Of Injury


One of the biggest things worth mentioning is the higher risk of injury that comes with HIIT. Because you are pushing yourself to move faster and harder than usual, it is much easier for your body to become injured during a HIIT workout. You must follow proper form and technique when doing these exercises and take regular breaks between sets, so your body has time to recover.

It’s also best to avoid it if you are recovering from an injury, as it may be too strenuous for your body at this time. And if you are new to exercise, it’s best to start with more basic exercises before trying out HIIT.

Fatigue And Exhaustion


HIIT is known to be quite demanding on the body and can leave you feeling very fatigued afterward. It’s important to remember that these types of exercises are meant to push you to your limits, so make sure you are taking breaks when needed and not overworking yourself.

In addition, it is essential to remember that the rest periods between sets are just as important as the exercises themselves. Without proper rest, you may feel exhausted after every workout or, even worse – injured! Make sure to take breaks as needed, and don’t push your body too hard.

Potential Sleep Disturbances


While exercise is a great way to improve your sleep, HIIT can have the opposite effect. Studies have found that high-intensity interval training may disrupt sleep patterns, leading to insomnia or other issues with sleep quality. It’s essential to pay attention to how you feel after a HIIT workout and if you find yourself having trouble sleeping, consider switching up your exercise routine.

For those currently who have insomnia, it is best to avoid HIIT and focus instead on other forms of exercise that are less strenuous. This will help you get the rest your body needs without risking further sleep disturbances.

Increased Joint Pain


Although not everyone may experience this, some people may find their joint pain increases after a HIIT workout. This is due to the high intensity of these exercises, which can put more strain on your joints than regular exercise. To help reduce any potential pain or discomfort, make sure you use the proper form and pay attention to how your body feels during the workout.

If you start to experience pain or discomfort in any of your joints, take a break and reassess how you are doing the exercises. Or switch to a different type of exercise that is less strenuous on your body.

Is High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) Right For You?

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) can be a great way to get fit and improve your overall health. With proper form, technique, and regular rest periods, you can enjoy all the benefits of HIIT without worrying about any potential injuries or complications. However, it is essential to remember that this type of exercise is not suitable for everyone. Make sure you take the time to assess whether or not HIIT is right for you by considering any potential drawbacks it may have on your body. And if you have any existing conditions, it is best to speak with your doctor before starting any new type of exercise.