HIIT, or High-Intensity Interval Training, is proven to be the most successful way of improving health and fitness at any age in far less time than moderate exercise. HIIT is a cardio session that really pushes you to the maximum to you raise your heart rate and breathing for between 20 to 90 seconds. This kind of workout has become more accessible and attractive thanks to the body coach Joe Wicks. Adding a short high energy workout to the start of your day kick starts your metabolism, gives you endorphins for a happy mood boost and helps with a leaner toned body.
Numerous research studies, including many on men and women over 50, prove that this is the most effective way of getting fit. HIIT routines are shown to increase the metabolism which slows down in middle age and burn body fat and calories than other workouts! By raising your heart rate it improves endurance, strength, helping you to tone and get trimmed.
A study from McMaster University in 2016 found that 60 seconds of intense exertion proved as successful at improving health as three-quarters of an hour of moderate exercise. Testing men who don’t exercise on bikes, one group did 45 minutes at a moderate pace (multiple sessions over three weeks and others did high-intensity 20-second bursts. Both groups saw the same gains, with endurance, insulin resistance and energy all improving.
How to Do HIIT – Best Practices
- Get your heart rate up – this is the key goal so go for intense bursts of exercise and then rest.
- Both the intense and rest periods are essential. They are making the body adjust to two very different cardio states.
- Do timed sets of between 20-90 seconds. Work really hard for between 20 – 90 seconds, rest, then work hard again and repeat.
- If you are a beginner, gradually build up the intensity of the workouts and rest for longer. Start with 1:2 so you rest for double the time you work out, then go to 1:1 (same time on both), then 2:1 up to 3 or 4.
- Rotate through a set of exercises, usually up to 10. You can do any exercise that raises your heart rate.
- Try to do HIIT session 3 times a week with two other days of moderate exercise like brisk walking.
- HIIT will help you burn more calories after your workout due to post-exercise oxygen consumption
To boost energy and confidence try including a 15 minute HIIT into your day 3-4 times a week. Sometimes as we get older we get into an exercise comfort zone. We can spend time in the same classes we have done for decades or counting our steps. By adding in some HIIT routines you will get your heart racing!
Create your own HIIT routine
Typically a HIIT workout will be between 10 and 20 minutes. There is a huge range of exercises you can choose from, so choose from those below and mix and match!
How to Get the Best Results
If you incorporate HIIT sessions into your weekly routine you will see big results. It’s good to combine it with a healthy diet low in unprocessed foods. Work hard, keep hydrated and eat well and you will feel the difference after a week.