Why keeping fit with HIIT really does work
If you love low-volume High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) or trying to love this form of exercise, you may just have another reason to commit to it regularly.
A new review paper published in The Journal of Physiology collates a decade’s worth of research on the topic of this so-called low-volume high HIIT for health.
The current World Health Organisation (WHO) physical activity guidelines 150-300 min of moderate activity/week or 75-100min of vigorous activity/week. It may be unattainable for a large portion of the population who are time poor due to family or work commitments.
This hypothesis is supported by the increasing rates of physical inactivity amongst adults in high income countries.
The findings of this study show that low-volume HIIT (typically involving less than ~20 mins total exercise time - inclusive of warm up and cool down) yields comparable improvements to interventions meeting the current guidelines despite requiring significantly less time.
So, what is low-volume HIIT?
As HIIT involves active periods of work interspersed with recovery periods, the researchers defined low-volume HIIT as interventions which included less than 15 minutes of high intensity exercise per session (not including recovery periods).
This review builds on the authors’ recent study published in Diabetes Care which showed that as little as 4-min of HIIT 3 times per week for 12 weeks significantly improved blood sugar levels, fat in the liver, and cardio respiratory fitness in adults with type 2 diabetes.
They also showed that these improvements were comparable to an intervention involving 45-min of moderate intensity aerobic exercise.
Dr Angelo Sabag, corresponding author of the study said:
“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.
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.”
Nombulelo Mgabadeli, a certified HIIT gives us five exercise HIIT circuit you can try at home:
Strength HIIT Workout
Get your body moving and put your timer on 30 seconds back to back only grab a break once done with last workout (x3 sets)
• Jumping Jacks
• Star Jumps
• High Knees
45 seconds working
15 seconds Active Rest between each workout (Hold Plank)
• Jumping Squats
• Tuck Crunches
• Jumping lunges
• Mountain Climbers