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Using High Intensity Workouts When Time Is Limited

October 16, 2023

Interval training has been well-researched over the years and there is considerable evidence to show that interval training can provide similar if not better health benefits compared to continuous moderate-intensity exercise. One type of aerobic interval training, HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training), may be effective for improving VO2 max, endurance capacity, resting metabolic rate, blood pressure, body composition, and mood. Interval training has also been shown to decrease the risk of cardiovascular diseases, metabolic syndrome, osteoarthritis, and some cancers.

While regular exercise is known to be essential for a healthy lifestyle, as fall approaches and the days get shorter, many people feel like they have trouble finding enough time to get their workout in. If you haven’t already incorporated HIIT or interval training into your current routine, this a great time to start as it can allow you to get an effective workout with less time commitment.

HIIT workouts are typically shorter in duration when compared to traditional continuous moderate-intensity exercise. Benefits from interval training have been documented in as little as 15 minutes (compared to the standard 30-60 minutes required for moderate-intensity exercise). Most people will think of running when they think of interval training, but HIIT can be easily adapted to walking or cycling programs as well. A stationary bike at the gym is a great place to get a quick HIIT workout in on a bad weather day.

To give you an idea of what a HIIT workout may look like, below is a sampling of a few documented programs that produced beneficial effects in research. These programs were typically completed 3 times per week for 12 weeks:

8 x 30 sec run at 90% maximal speed with 2 min walking between efforts

4 x 4 min run at 80-90% maximal effort with 3 min active recovery (walk/jog) between efforts

3 x 20 sec all-out cycling sprint with 3 min easy cycling between efforts

It is important to note that high-intensity exercise is not for everyone. A warm-up and cool-down should be included with any HIIT workout as well. If you’re interested in learning more about HIIT and how to tailor a workout to your ability level, don’t hesitate to reach out and schedule an appointment with us.

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Atakan MM, Li Y, Koşar ŞN, Turnagöl HH, Yan X. Evidence-Based Effects of High-Intensity Interval Training on Exercise Capacity and Health: A Review with Historical Perspective. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021;18(13):7201. Published 2021 Jul 5. doi:10.3390/ijerph18137201