High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is slated to be the top fitness trend in the New Year, reports the Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends for 2018.
Short bursts of high-intensity exercise, followed by short periods of lower-intensity movement to recover, is the HIIT formula. With sessions that last anywhere from 10 to 45 minutes, HIIT knocks up the heart rate, improving cardiovascular health while increasing the rate of fat loss. In a time-crunched world, it’s fast, hard-hitting and gets results.
Done properly, even 10 minutes of HIIT has shown to provide some significant health benefits when performed repeatedly over time. This includes: strengthening the heart, increasing blood volume, improving muscle capacity to generate energy and process carbohydrates and fats as fuel, lowering blood pressure levels, and changing body composition by melting fat and creating muscle mass.
Unlike some fads that sweep through the fitness industry only to fade away, HIIT comes with a long history and some convincing science that backs it up. Originally popular among Olympic athletes in the 1950s, HIIT has remained a technique practiced by world class athletes to maintain their elite edge. It has reemerged in the mainstream fitness community within the past few years and is now catching fire.
Cardio workouts require sustaining a moderate level of exercise for 30 minutes or more. Eventually, the body adapts to this level of physical stress, and progress reaches a plateau. Results such as fat burning become harder to achieve. By contrast, HIIT has a different impact on the body, requiring the body to increase the fat-burning ability and the body’s metabolism over time.
While HIIT should not replace your sport specific training or endurance work, if you are short on time and want to knock up your intensity in 2018, consider working a few HIIT sessions into your training program each week.