Benefits of HIIT Exercises

The boom and popularity that's currently helping the fitness world to thrive hasn't excluded High-Intensity Interval Training - better known as HIIT.
Benefits of HIIT Exercises

Last update: 18 January, 2021

The benefits of HIIT are numerous for our bodies, as and when we do them properly. But do bear in mind that they’re not suitable exercises for everyone.

One of the most attractive aspects of this type of training is that 15 minutes of HIIT burns more calories than 30 minutes of running. This is actually quite a surprising feature to those who practice.

As an additional incentive, after those miserable 15 minutes of exercise, the fat-burning effect on our bodies over 24 hours increases considerably.

In essence, these kinds of high-intensity exercises allow our bodies to reorganize their metabolism. This makes our bodies store fatty acids as a source of energy instead of carbohydrates, which is the case for those who don’t regularly practice this type of activity.

In case you still have doubts about HIIT, the American College of Sports Medicine itself testified in its 2011 annual meeting to the benefits of this type of training. In the same meeting, ACSM also clarified that two weeks of routinely doing HIIT exercises equaled between six and eight weeks of resistance training (more or less).

Concrete benefits of HIIT exercises

We’ve already mentioned that it’s less calorific and more functional. But HIIT also increases our growth hormone’s performance by 450% during the first 24 hours after training.

This hormone is in charge of, on one side, increasing the number of calories we burn. On the other hand, it slows down the aging process. According to the latter, HITT should be a kind of ‘fountain of youth’ that keeps us young inside and out.

One of the most complicated aspects is, without a doubt, finding the middle ground between losing weight but not losing muscle. This is what typically happens when training with cardiovascular exercises; if you habitually work on your fitness, you’ll probably already have realized this.

As a solution to this, HIIT exercises give us the perfect formula: they allow us to burn up to three times more fat without losing any muscle mass.

According to a 2006 study by Little and Gibala, our overall cardiac ability is greatly improved after a HIIT workout.

In the same study, those that have done this type of training were able to pedal twice as much whilst maintaining a steady heartbeat, compared to those who did more common exercises.

As with many aerobic activities, HIIT workouts are suitable for people suffering from diabetes; they increase glucose consumption and improve insulin sensitivity.

Additional benefits

Although we’ve spoken about highly rewarding but tough training, it’s always possible to adapt it to your physical abilities.

So, by personalizing and combining exercises in a way that suits us, we can find a routine of HIIT exercises that are suitable for beginners and people that don’t work out very often.

In order to do these routines, you need to sweat, get tired, and work out enough to exhaust yourself.

You don’t need to waste money on a gym membership or buying specific equipment since you can practice HIIT exercises easily  at home or outside.

When specialists don’t recommend HIIT exercises

It’s not all plain sailing when training with high-intensity exercises, of course. HIIT comes with a series of contraindications that recommend against it and we should keep those in mind.

First of all, if you’re following a low-calorie diet, specialists recommend against this kind of practice, since it can make you dizzy and even lose consciousness due to a lack of glycogen in the body.

Our joints and tendons may suffer an increased workload with this kind of high-intensity training. Those that have any kind of joint or muscle problem should avoid running the risk of hurting themselves badly.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.