6 Amazing Health Benefits of High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

HIIT has become quite popular in the past decade with more and more people trying out the fitness routine day by day. Some people do it to further improve their physique where some others because they are simply trying to get active.

Independently of your reasons for working out, high-intensity interval training can deliver some outstanding results with a relatively small amount of exercise.

In broader terms, HIIT refers to workouts that include short period of intense exercise alternated with recovery periods. What this means is that you simply push yourself for a few seconds, rest for another few and the same again.

HIIT training has actually been proven to deliver maximal health benefits in minimal time and especially when the same routing is followed on a regular basis.

What Is High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)?

HIIT refers to short bursts of intense exercise alternated with low-intensity recovery periods.

Recent studies have considered HIIT as the most time-efficient way to exercise, meaning producing great results in a very short time.

The duration of an excellent HIIT workout will range from 10 to 20 minutes; if you want to push yourself even further or take your physique a level higher, you may want to consider extending it slightly more. 

The truth however is that no matter how short the duration of the workout is, it can actually produce health benefits similar to twice as much exercise at a moderate intensity.

The activity itself can vary from stamina building sports like sprinting, biking, cycling to body and weight exercises.

For example, a HIIT workout using a treadmill could involve 30 seconds of running as fast as possible (sprinting), followed by a minute of slow paced walking. This would refer to one ‘repetition’ of HIIT and you would typically complete 5 to 10 repetitions in one session. If you want to push yourself even further, you can always another exercise using light weights.

Try not to be hung up on the amount of time you exercise and recover though, as this may vary based on the exercise you choose and how intensely you are trying.

The main thing to have in mind is that high intensity intervals should include short periods of strong exercise that make the heart speed up.

This kind of exercise will not only provide the same physical benefits as a longer-duration exercise (in a much shorter period of time) but also some exceptional health benefits.

Let's see the 6 amazing health benefits HIIT can deliver to our body.

6 Health Benefits of High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

1. HIIT Can Burn a Lot of Calories in a Short Amount of Time

HIIT burns calories quickly!

A recent study compared the amount of calories burned from a 30 minute HIIT training, running and biking. During the HIIT training, the participants were putting maximal effort for 20 seconds and rested for 40, leading to an amazing burn of 25–30% of more calories when compared to the other forms of exercise. In other words, everyone exercised for 1/3 of the time that the other groups did (R).

Key Point:
HIIT will help you burn more calories than moderate-intensity exercise and burn the same amount of calories in a shorter period.

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2. HIIT Increases Your Metabolism for Hours After Exercise

One of the best ways HIIT can help you burn calories is after the workout session.

Multiple studies have shown that HIIT has the ability to improve your metabolic rate for several hours after done exercising. In addition, it was also seen that HIIT can ‘direct’ the body’s metabolism towards (using) fat for energy rather than carbohydrates (R, R).

Key Point:
HIIT can increase your metabolic rate for hours after the training session which means that calories burn even after you are done exercising.

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3. HIIT Helps You Gain Muscle

HIIT benefit gain muscle

Not only HIIT can help you quickly lose fat, but will also make your muscles increase in mass.

The muscle areas that will be most affected are the ones that are used the most during the exercise; legs in cycling exercise for example. This has greater effect though on individuals that well less active before beginning doing HIIT (R, R).

Key Point:
The less active you are, the more muscle you will gain by doing HIIT on a regular basis.

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4. HIIT Reduces Heart Rate and Blood Pressure

High-intensity training has been proved to reduce heart rate and blood pressure in overweight individuals, as they most commonly have high blood pressure due to their diet.

In specific, research shows that eight weeks of high intensity interval cycling decreased blood pressure as much as endurance training would, with 1/3 less time spent on training (R, R).

Key point:
HIIT can reduce blood pressure and heart rate, especially in overweight individuals with high blood pressure.

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5. HIIT Reduces Blood Sugar

HIITbenefit reduces blood sugar

Multiple studies have shown that HIIT reduces blood sugar and improves insulin resistance much more than moderate-intensity workouts.

In addition, research demonstrated that HIIT significantly improved blood sugar on individuals with type 2 diabetes (R, R).

Key Point:
HIIT is deemed to be beneficial to individuals that need to reduce their blood sugar and insulin resistance. These benefits apply to both healthy and diabetic individuals.

6. HIIT Improves Oxygen Consumption

Oxygen consumption means that your body muscles and brain can effectively use oxygen. In other words, high-intensity training promotes healthy functioning of the brain and body muscles, resulting in a healthy body and mind.

According to several studies, HIIIT can deliver the same benefits in a much shorter time period. In specific, studies showed that HIIT workouts done for five to eight weeks (a few days per week), improved oxygen consumption by between 10 to 25% in exactly half the time of training (R).

Key Point:
HIIT training can improve the amount of oxygen consumed by your muscles as much as normal endurance training, with half the time spent on the exercise.

Take Away Message

To recap, these are the 6 unique health benefits of High-Intensity Interval Training:

  1. HIIT Can Burn a Lot of Calories in a Short Amount of Time
  2. HIIT Increases Your Metabolism for Hours After Exercise
  3. HIIT Helps You Gain Muscle
  4. HIIT Reduces Heart Rate and Blood Pressure
  5. HIIT Reduces Blood Sugar
  6. HIIT Improves Oxygen Consumption

How has HIIT helped you improve your life? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

About the Author

Marios Kokolakis Profile PhotoMarios Kokolakis is the Content Manager at BrainSharp. His goal? To motivate and help people live a healthier and happier life by sharing his passion for fitness and nutrition, and igniting the inner spark to achieving life goals.

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