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Cardiovascular Exercise

  • Get High On High Intensity Interval Training!

    If you have been exercising for years and are looking for a new challenge, then you should definitely try HIIT. What is it, you ask? Well, it stands for High Intensity Interval Training.

    Definition of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

    Simply put, HIIT means cardiovascular exercise taken to a much higher level. This is when you perform aerobic exercise at a very intense level that your body will spend the rest of the day expending energy from the grind you put it through. This is commonly known as EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption) which will make you consume a greater deal of oxygen compared to your regular cardiovascular exercise regimen.

    This also translates to a higher post-exercise fat-burning rate of as much as to nine times more than working the treadmill at a steady pace.

    In other words, HIIT means doing more in less time. Science Daily defines it as "doing a number of short bursts of intense exercise with short recovery breaks in between." It goes on to say that the traditional approach to exercise-say, running or cycling for hours in a given week-is time-consuming. HIIT allows you to achieve the same results in far less time with brief spurts of high intensity exercise.

    Professor Martin Gibala and his colleagues at Canada's McMaster University made a study in 2010 as to why HIIT is so effective. The study provides insight into the molecular signals that regulate muscle adaptation to interval training. HIIT apparently stimulates many of the same cellular pathways that are responsible for the same beneficial effects that are associated with endurance training.

    An example of an HIIT routine is sprinting for 30 seconds and then walking for 60 seconds over a 20-30 minute period. Another example is sprinting for 60 seconds and then walking for 120 seconds done over five to ten cycles.

    Experts say that any type of cardio exercise can be used with interval training although they are also advising against running more than a few times weekly. This is because the demands on your metabolic system and joints are significant. Beginners can begin with low-impact HIIT on an elliptical, for instance.

    Benefits of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

    1. Increased aerobic capacity-the amount of oxygen your body can use (oxygen uptake) is increased. Your overall aerobic capacity can increase faster if you do a steady, lower intensity form of aerobic exercise such as jogging.

    2. Increased lactate threshold-your ability to handle increased lactate acid buildup in your muscles substantially increases.

    3. Improved insulin sensitivity-your muscles more readily absorb glucose, instead of the glucose going to your fat stores.

    4. Anabolic effect-some studies suggest that combining HIIT with a nutrition plan which requires you to consume a slightly higher caloric intake creates an anabolic effect. This helps you pack on lean muscle without the excess fat.

    Some studies also say that steady-state cardiovascular exercise done over long durations produces a catabolic (muscle breakdown) effect.

    5. Efficiency-HIIT is the ideal workout for a busy schedule. It allows you to accomplish more in less time. You can even squeeze an HIIT session in during your office lunch break.

    6. Healthier heart-extreme training produces extreme results. A study conducted in 2006 concluded that HIIT done over an eight-week period allowed its subjects to do cycling twice as longer as they could before they participated.

    7. No equipment necessary-you can do HIIT without the benefit of exercise equipment. High knees, burpees or other forms of plyometric exercise like jumping lunges are just as efficient. What's more is that you can do HIIT anywhere, regardless of your time and space constraints.

    8. Challenging-some exercisers gripe about the boredom which sets in once they are accustomed to a particular workout. This certainly doesn't apply to HIIT! You won't have time to read a magazine whilst exercising. It covers a short duration and you will be busting your tail the whole time.

    This offers seasoned fitness enthusiasts a new challenge and quick way to see results for beginners.


    The idea of work is to accomplish more in the least amount of time possible. This most definitely applies to your exercise routine as well. Give High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) a shot and watch your fitness levels soar!

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