How HIIT Benefits the Body

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is an essential element of an effective, beneficial fitness regimen. Also known as high-intensity intermittent exercise, it involves performing short bursts of vigorous aerobic exercise, followed by a short period of rest, and repeating the process. So, why should you perform HIIT instead of other exercises?

Stronger Heart

All forms of aerobic exercise promote a healthy heart and circulatory system, but HIIT is particularly effective for this purpose. As explained by Harvard Health, HIIT encourages a healthier heart while lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease in the process. It forces your heart to work harder as it pumps blood through your body, thus building a stronger heart. Furthermore, it lowers cholesterol levels in the blood to protect against stroke and other related heart conditions.

Encourages Weight Loss

You’ll have an easier time achieving and maintaining a healthy weight when performing HIIT exercises. Compared to other exercises, HIIT burns up to 30 percent more calories. Statistics show that more than one-third of adults are overweight or obese. While dieting can also help with weight loss, exercise is equally if not more important. HIIT, however, offers the greatest benefits for weight loss. Because it focuses on vigorous exercise, HIIT allows you to burn more calories in less time.

Builds Muscle

While some people perform HIIT to burn calories and lose weight, others perform it to build muscle mass. HIIT offers an excellent way to build bigger, stronger muscles, especially when resistance is added. You can perform squat jumps while holding dumbbells, for instance, to work out your leg muscles, or you can perform standing military shoulder presses with dumbbells to work out your shoulders. Regardless, HIIT encourages a healthier body by burning calories and promoting bigger muscles.

Increased Metabolism

A lesser-known benefit of HIIT is increased metabolism. According to the University of New Mexico (UNM), people who perform HIIT regularly have a higher metabolism level than their counterparts. Harvard researchers say that HIIT increases heart rate, blood glucose levels, growth hormone levels, lactate levels, and it increases activity of the sympathetic nervous system. The culmination of these effects means a higher metabolism level, with your body processing nutrients and oxygen more quickly.

Improved Endurance

You’ll reap the benefits of improved endurance when performing HIIT. If you currently feel winded when running short distances or performing other aerobic exercises, try incorporating HIIT into your fitness regimen. The vigorous, intense nature of these exercises builds endurance and stamina. As a result, you can exercise for longer periods of time without needing to rest.

Reduces Stress

Ever feel calmer and more relaxed after performing HIIT exercises? Well, there’s a scientific explanation to this phenomenon. When you perform HIIT, your body responds by producing feel-good hormones like oxytocin and serotonin. As these hormones flow through your body, you’ll feel more relaxed. So, if you suffer from chronic stress, make HIIT a key component of your fitness regimen. Reduced stress levels is just one more health benefit offered by HIIT.

It’s Easy to Get Started

You don’t need expensive workout machines or weight benches to get started with HIIT. Some HIIT exercises require nothing more than a pair of running or athletic shoes. And if you want to build muscle, you can always add free weights like dumbbells or kettlebells to your routine.

As you can see, HIIT benefits the body in several ways. It burns calories, promotes a healthier heart, builds muscle, increases metabolism and more. I guess the better question is why shouldn’t you perform HIIT?

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