High Intensity Interval Training

High intensity interval training (HIIT) is a cardiac exercise that helps to burn more fat in less time. It takes about 20 minutes and is referred as “excess post exercise oxygen consumption” as it makes the practitioner to consume more oxygen while recovering from the exercise than the normal state exercises and it increases the VO2 max.

If cardiovascular exercise is carried out at constant intensity then it takes the body to a steady state however when a HIIT is carried out people should push themselves out of the comfortable zone for short intervals which are separated with long intervals of moderate to low intensity exercises.

Benefits of HIIT

HIIT helps to utilize both the aerobic and anaerobic energy systems and burn more amounts of calories while exercising and even after as it increases the time required by the body to recover from each session. These exercises also cause metabolic changes and enable the body to use more fat as fuel and increases the fat burning potential. In most of the traditional steady state exercises, a part of muscles mass may also loss in the pursuit of weight loss but HIIT helps to build muscle mass.

How to do HIIT

The target while doing this exercise should be to push oneself out of the upper end of aerobic zone and admit the body to refill the anaerobic energy system at the recovery intervals. The high intensity intervals demand maximum effort and the level of intensity, number of high and low intensity intervals, length of each interval and the number of training sessions at each week varies according to the demands and needs of the practitioner. Before starting the HIIT make sure the practitioner can do 30 minutes exercise at 70 to 85% of the estimated maximum heart rate without having any problems and then gradually move to the HIIT.

Start the HIIT exercise with a warm up exercise for 5 minutes and end it with cool down exercise for 5 minutes. During high intensity exercise, work hard till a burning sensation is felt on the muscles and this means the practitioner has entered in to the anaerobic zone. This high intensity mode can be stretched up to 3 to 5 minutes depending on the stamina of the person. Then comes to the recovery stage which takes about 4 minutes.

The practitioner can reduce this period if he hasn’t completely exhausted the anaerobic energy system. Repeat the high intensity and recovery intervals and then cool down. Maintain the maximum heart rate at 60 to 70% while doing warm up, recovery intervals and cool down to maximize the lose of fat.

People having cardiovascular problems should consult your doctor before starting the HIIT. Any of the cardiovascular exercises like running, elliptical machine, treadmill, swimming, recumbent bike etc can be practiced for this purpose.

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