While most people know that physical activity is healthy, it’s estimated that about 20% of people worldwide don’t get enough of it each day. In fact, that number is more like 80% in the United States alone. Unless you have a physically demanding job, a dedicated fitness routine is likely your best bet for getting active. However, many people feel they don’t have enough time to exercise.
If this sounds like you, maybe it’s time to try high-intensity interval training (HIIT). If this sounds like you, perhaps it’s time to try high-intensity interval training (HIIT). This article explains what HIIT is and examines its top health benefits.
HIIT can burn a lot of calories in a short amount of time
You can burn calories quickly using HIIT. One study compared the calories burned during 30 minutes each of HIIT, weight training, running, and biking. The researchers found that HIIT burned 25–30% more calories than the other forms of exercise. In this study, a HIIT repetition consisted of 20 seconds of maximal effort followed by 40 seconds of rest.
This means the participants were actually exercising for only one-third of the time that the running and biking groups were. Although each workout session was 30 minutes long in this study, it is common for HIIT workouts to be much shorter than traditional exercise sessions. This is because HIIT allows you to burn about the same number of calories but spend less time exercising.
Your metabolic rate is higher for hours after HIIT exercise
One of the ways HIIT helps you burn calories actually comes after you’re done exercising. Several studies have demonstrated HIIT’s impressive ability to increase your metabolic rate for hours after exercise. Some researchers have even found that HIIT increases your metabolism after exercise more so than jogging or weight training. The same study also found that HIIT could shift the body’s metabolism toward using fat for energy rather than carbs.
HIIT can help you lose fat
Studies have shown that HIIT can help you lose fat. One review looked at 13 experiments and 424 adults with overweight or obesity. Interestingly, it found that both HIIT and traditional moderate-intensity exercise can reduce body fat and waist circumference. A range of other studies also indicates that HIIT can reduce body fat despite the relatively short time commitment. However, like other forms of exercise, HIIT may be most effective for fat loss in people with overweight or obese.
You might gain muscle using HIIT
In addition to helping with fat loss, HIIT could help increase muscle mass in certain people. However, the gain in muscle mass is primarily in the muscles being used the most, often those in the trunk and legs. Additionally, increases in muscle mass are more likely to occur in people who were less active, to begin with. Some research on active people has failed to show higher muscle mass after HIIT programs. Weight training continues to be the gold standard form of exercise to increase muscle mass, but high-intensity intervals could support a small amount of muscle growth