HIIT Really Does Work and Is Perfect for Those of Us Who Are Time-Poor, New Study Finds

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High-intensity interval training, or HIIT as it’s commonly known, has been an extremely popular form of exercise for a number of years now. And over the last year, more people have turned to this movement with at-home exercise becoming the norm during the COVID-19 pandemic.

New research has found that the health benefits of HIIT are extensive and this form of movement is particularly great for those who are time-poor — especially when compared to the physical activity guidelines from the World Health Organisation (WHO). According to Science Daily, the WHO currently recommends 150-300 minutes of moderate activity/week or 75-100 minutes of vigorous activity/week, which is unrealistic for many people.

In a recent review paper, which was published in the Journal of Physiology, researchers collated 10 years worth of research on this topic and found that shorter variations of HIIT, involving as little as four minutes of high-intensity exercise, could improve your health.

Studying low-volume HIIT, which involves less than 15 minutes of high-intensity exercise per session, researchers found this form of movement can greatly improve heart function and arterial health, according to Science Daily.

These findings build upon previous research which found that as little as four minutes of HIIT performed three times per week for 12 weeks significantly improved blood sugar levels, fat in the liver and cardiorespiratory fitness in participants who had type 2 diabetes.

Researchers also found that results from low-volume HIIT were comparable to an intervention involving 45 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise. Pretty amazing considering you’re engaging in 30 minutes of less exercise!

“While the WHO guidelines may serve their purpose at a populational level, individualised and tailored low-volume HIIT interventions delivered by appropriately trained exercise professionals may be more effective at an individual level, especially for time-poor individuals,” said Dr. Angelo Sabag, corresponding author of the study.

“This research is especially important now as people are looking for new and exciting ways to engage in regular exercise, after a year of lower physical activity due to the pandemic.”

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