An exercise trend you may be doing without knowing

A shopper carries groceries to her car. File Picture: Reuters

A shopper carries groceries to her car. File Picture: Reuters

Published Aug 4, 2020


Most fit fanatics know the health benefits of High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) in our everyday life.

HIIT is key to helping unfit, overweight people get more of the exercise they need to improve their health, according to an international research team.

But have you heard of High-Intensity Incidental Physical Activity, HIIPA for short? This can be any physical activity, from washing the car to climbing stairs or carrying groceries.

Each of these activities is an opportunity for short, sharp bursts of HIIPA. This a great way to get physical while you go about your daily routine.

“Regular incidental activity that gets you huffing and puffing even for a few seconds has great promise for health,” said Emmanuel Stamatakis, Professor of Physical Activity, Lifestyle and Population Health at the University of Sydney’s Charles Perkins Centre and School of Public Health.

In a paper published the British Journal of Sports Medicine, Stamatakis and colleagues argue that when considering differences in physical capabilities by age, sex and weight, many daily tasks can be classified as high-intensity physical activity. That is, the kind of activity that gets you out of breath enough to boost your fitness.

They say incorporating these kinds of activities into routines a few times a day will see significant health benefits for most adults.

The authors suggest that over the course of the day, these activities could be used in the same way that high-intensity interval training (HIIT) works by repeating short sessions of high-intensity exercise with rests in between.

“There is a lot of research telling us that any type of HIIT, irrespective of the duration and number of repetitions, is one of the most effective ways to rapidly improve fitness and cardiovascular health and HIIPA works on the same idea,” said Stamatakis.

“The beauty of HIIPA and the idea of using activities we are already doing as part of everyday life is that it is much more realistic and achievable for most people.

“The time commitment for HIIPA is close to zero minutes per day, and people could save even more time if their HIIPA involves brief walking sprints or taking the stairs instead of waiting for the lift,’’ said Stamatakis.

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