A study performed at the University of British Columbia has found that HIIT, an interval-based exercise regimen can be adapted into the daily exercise regimen of an average person.
What is HIIT?
High-intensity interval training (HIIT), also called high-intensity intermittent exercise (HIIE) or sprint interval training (SIT) is defined as high-intensity rounds of anaerobic exercise continued by intervals of less intense recovery periods typically lasting less than 30 minutes. It is a form of interval training using a cardiovascular strategy.
HIIT has been found to result in improved athletic capacity and condition as well as improved glucose metabolism. However, it requires “an extremely high level of subject motivation” and the question of whether or not an average person can indulge in this high-intensity exercise regimen safely is a topic that has been debated by scientists for a long time
What does the new research say?
A recent study by Matthew Stork, a postdoctoral fellow in the School of Health and Exercise Sciences, and his team was performed with the objective of settling the debate regarding the safety of HIIT for an average person and whether or not it should be recommended in the public health strategy.
Method of study
For this study, Stork and his team interviewed 30 inactive adults; 18 men and 12 women, before and after they performed continuous and interval based exercises in two settings, the controlled lab setting and home setting based on their own free time.
The subjects discussed the pros and cons of interval vs traditional exercise regimens and how interval seems more appealing in theory but is quite extreme in practice. Furthermore, they discussed the unique and creative ways in which interval-based exercise regimens can be adapted into their own working schedules when compared to traditional exercise regimens.
Results of the study
According to Stork, although not all factors comparing the interval vs traditional exercise regimens have been discussed and studied by the researchers to date, HIIT or SIT can be applied to an average person with no safety or health concerns.
He also mentioned, ‘I think many people assume that they need to go all-in on one form of exercise — if they’re a ‘HIIT person,’ they must have to do HIIT all the time. But what I’m seeing is that different forms of exercise can be used interchangeably and that people should approach their exercise with a flexible ‘menu’ of options.”
In his expert opinion, one does not need to apply just to HIIT but rather include it in their exercise routine dispensing on their own available time and schedule.
He explains this by giving an example of a parent of a toddler, ‘”Maybe one day you only have 20 minutes to squeeze in a HIIT session while your child naps, but the next day you prefer an hour-long hike up the mountain to destress from work. As long as you’re getting a bit of exercise, you should feel empowered to choose a protocol that fits your needs in that particular time and situation.”
According to him, the next step in HIIT or SIT research is to determine the tools that can help motivate the general public to adapt to HIIT/SIT and undertake this regimen unsupervised.