High-Intensity Interval Training – The Healthiest Way to Exercise

High-Intensity Interval Training Over the past decade, there has been a shift in the style of exercise offered by many gyms and fitness centers.  Crossfit and Tabata classes are now more common than they were years ago and TRX equipment is widespread.  In addition to class offerings, many exercisers in the gym are performing “weird” and non-standard workouts.  This is all due to high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and the craze of this style of exercise is more than a fad.  HIIT has been researched extensively and there is nothing but good results following many studies.  For a little background, HIIT is a form of exercise where the body’s heart rate is elevated in some form, usually through hard body weight movements, for a particular duration, followed by short or no rest.  Sounds hard right?  Yes it is in fact draining and tough on the body, but a typical workout is a fraction of the time cost and the health rewards are extensive.  This article discusses the benefits of performing HIIT for your health and for the future health.

Prevent Illness through High-Intensity Interval Training

  • Blood Pressure. Hypertension is one of the biggest problems in the United States.  In fact, the CDC states that one in every three individuals has hypertension, which translates to about 67 million American adults [1].  Due to a variety of environmental and psychological variables, hypertension has become one of the most common conditions in the U.S. and many simply chose to control it with medication.  Exercise on the other hand has been shown to be just as effective as medication for the reduction of hypertension.  Studies have shown that among patients with heart failure, HIIT programs were able to significantly reduce 24-hour blood pressure [2], suggesting HIIT exercise to be a holistic approach to preventing and reducing blood pressure among the general community.
  • Insulin and Blood Sugar. Another common condition in the U.S. is diabetes.  Type II diabetes is considered a lifestyle disease and many consider it to be a preventable condition.  Research has shown that low-volume HIIT programs can quickly improve blood glucose control and cause skeletal muscles to improve their efficiency to use glucose among a group of individuals with type II diabetes [3].  These results demonstrated that 10 intervals of 60 seconds of cycling at 90 percent of one’s maximum effort followed by 60 seconds of rest induced an average reduction in 24- hour blood glucose concentration by at least seven points, which could be significant enough to avoid needing a dose of diabetes medication.
  • Body Fat Control. There is growing concern since the early 2000’s regarding the steady rise in the amount of individuals who are overweight or obese.  Obesity is defined by the accumulation and excess of adipose tissue surrounding the abdominal area and more individuals worldwide are becoming obese.  Fortunately, exercise can help prevent the accumulation of fat around the mid-section.  In fact, HIIT programs in research have shown modest reductions in abdominal fat among overweight individuals [4], suggesting that obesity can almost be completely eliminated if every individual were to monitor diet and perform HIIT exercise.
  • Premature Death. While this is not one of the most discussed health topics around, it is encouraging to find data to suggest that exercise can slow or reverse the risk of premature death.  In fact, studies have shown high-intensity leisure-time physical activity to be predictive of all-cause mortality among older healthy men [5], suggesting HIIT to be effective in the reduction of early death from all causes.

While there are terrible diseases and conditions prevalent in the public today, there is growing evidence to suggest that HIIT exercise to be helpful in the prevention and treatment of these particular conditions.  While HIIT is not a cure-all, in many ways it is the best option we know to help “prevent-all”.  The information presented in this article is not intended to treat or cure any health condition and is not to replace the advice from a physician.  Always discuss high-intensity interval training and your health with your doctor prior to any change in your exercise routine.



[1] http://www.cdc.gov/bloodpressure/facts.htm

[2] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23857036

[3] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21868679

[4] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2991639/

About the Author

, Celebrity Personal Trainer and Fitness & Nutrition Expert headquartered in Scottsdale, AZ. He specializes in helping men and women achieve weight loss, muscle building, toning and other customized fitness & nutrition programs to create a Healthy Lifestyle. James offers private luxury personal training, 12-week custom workout plans, and personalized nutrition meal plans. Follow on Google+.

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