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While many people are motivated by the outward results of their exercise routine, most also note that they are in a better mood, have a sharper mind, and feel stronger. Regular exercise has the potential to help reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease long term, prevent obesity, and elevate your mood.
Why are so many adults still not getting the physical exercise they need? For a lot of busy people, it simply comes down to time—we feel as though we don't have enough of it! That’s one of the reasons high-intensity interval training (HIIT) has soared in popularity in recent years. HIIT has the potential to give you maximum health benefits in minimal time.
Despite the well-known benefits of exercise, only 20% of adults are getting the recommended amount of activity each week, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The premise behind a high intensity workout is to take any type of exercise that gets your heart pumping and increase its intensity in a short burst. This is a significant reason why high intensity interval training (HIIT) has taken off in popularity – it doesn’t take as long as other workouts! If you're unsure where to start, begin with a familiar activity. Running or even dance cardio are good options. Alternate between 30 seconds of intense work and 30 seconds of rest, and try to keep this up for 15-35 minutes.
Between bursts of intensity, you rest briefly before ramping back up for a short time. This alternation between short, intense periods of exercise with periods of rest has been proven to be a workout routine that reaps huge rewards. Not only are more of your muscle fibers engaged during this time, but you also burn more calories during this period than with many other workouts. The knowledge that a break is just around the corner motivates many people to exercise longer and harder than usual!
Preparing for your high intensity workout is both mental and physical. Mentally prepare by channeling your stress or excitement. Consider how you'll focus on that feeling during short, intense intervals. Though the workouts for HIIT are intense, they are also short-lived.
You can physically prepare for your high intensity workout by staying conscious of your protein intake. While you probably don’t need to make drastic changes to your eating plan for this workout, some nutritionists recommend a palm-sized serving of protein like chicken or fish every four hours on a training day. To add variety, you can choose among options like nuts, seafood, seeds, and dairy. The calcium in dairy foods could help maintain muscle function, and your bones actually release calcium during a high intensity workout. You can replenish your calcium with a healthy source of dairy like yogurt. The number one thing to remember is to stay hydrated before and throughout your workout. Of course, you should also focus on rehydrating your body after you finish!
You probably know the importance of warming up before any exercise – and this is one of the best ways to prevent injury during HIIT workouts. Another approach is to slowly build up the frequency of your HIIT workouts each week. If you haven’t exercised for awhile, you may have a tendency to accelerate your workouts quickly to make up for lost time, but that can lead to burnout and/or injury.
By following the above pointers, you can enjoy the benefits of HIIT workouts while also avoiding common pitfalls. To learn more about your cardiovascular health or schedule lab work, visit your local CareSpot Urgent Care.