High Intensity Training (HIT)
If you have been following news and current affairs programs you will have noticed that the obesity epidemic is a regular topic, as are debates about the best way to deal with it and help people to lose weight. One of the newer ideas is HIT, High Intensity Training or HIIT High Intensity Interval Training. So what does it mean?
Let’s use simple cardio vascular exercise as an example, you can interchange, elliptical, treadmill, stair climber, stationary bike as you please. You start with a warm-up of a few minutes to get your heart rate up slightly and your muscles warm. You then pedal/run/climb absolutely flat out – as hard as you can – for 60-seconds, followed by a rest for about 1 minute before repeating 3-5 times. The recommendation is to perform this routine three times a week, so you have a weekly total of just 12 – 15 minutes HIT. According to researchers this is enough to gain all the benefits of regular exercise – though clearly in a fraction of the time.
Too Good To Be True?
Yes it is but there do seem to be some real benefits to including this in your routine, even if it is not the cure all solution as some claim. Certainly studies have shown that regularly undertaking HIT training has improved insulin production, aerobic capacity and has aided weight loss, but there are no long term results available so we simply do not know if it has all of the benefits associated with the recommended 30 minutes a day of moderately vigorous exercise. However based on the evidence so far we will be incorporating some elements of HIT into our fitness classes especially as it has been proven to help raise your metabolic rate which is a great aid to weight loss.
Hit also carries some risks, if you are overweight, obese, very unfit or have any underlying health problems. During intense exercise, blood pressure levels can become elevated, putting a huge strain on the heart. This is especially relevant in older people who may already have raised blood pressure.
So HIT is not for everyone. If you are not already doing at least a moderate amount of exercise on a regular basis I would not recommend that you start a new fitness program of HIT exercises until you have raised your fitness levels using less strenuous exercise. Also if you have raised blood pressure, heart or respiratory conditions it is probably not for you. If in any doubt about your health and the suitability of an exercise program please consult your GP first.