HIIT is a form of exercise which in recent years has soared in popularity. It’s viewed as a great way to burn fat, boost metabolism and increase cardiovascular fitness levels and can be easily incorporated into a variety of training regimes – think sprints on a treadmill, a skipping tabata workout or even short rests during weighted workouts.
Another important benefit of HIIT however is often overlooked, and that is its ability to improve heart health. How you ask? Well this type of training is designed to elevate the heart rate through short bursts of intense exercise.
HOW HIIT HELPS YOUR HEART
IMPROVES STROKE VOLUME
Stroke volume is the amount of blood pumped around the body per heartbeat and this increases during exercise. This is especially the case however during demanding forms of exercise such as HIIT because of the body’s increased need for oxygen-filled blood. Through practice, this increase during exercise will allow your body to be supplied with oxygen more efficiently, eventually making tasks in day-to-day life a lot easier too.
LOWERS RESTING HEART RATE
For many people, it is hard to push themselves into an anaerobic training zone (where you lose your breath and feel your heart pounding) for a whole exercise session. However with interval training, it is a lot easier to push yourself to that level – mainly due to the rest interval that follows straight after. Over time, this can result in a lower resting heart rate, which as a result can also decrease your chances of suffering from a heart condition in later life.
LOWERS BLOOD PRESSURE
In the short term, HIIT causes an increase in blood pressure but in the long term, can result in a significant decrease. This is because HIIT has the ability to reduce the stiffness of he heart’s artery walls. Studies have repeatedly shown that HIIT is the best form of exercise if you are trying to lower your blood pressure – more so than traditional cardio which has been found to have a much lower effect.
MANAGES STRESS LEVELS
Day to day life can be a stressful occurrence for many and as we all know, stress can come in many forms. From finding it difficult to relax to being constantly on the go, the varieties are endless. Stress can cause the heart rate to fluctuate throughout the day, depending on the severity of the situation but hit HIIT is able to improve this. A short, sharp and sweaty session is great to distract you from all of your (and your heart’s) concerns and make you better equipped to deal with the difficulties that life throws at you afterwards.
HIIT can also enormously benefit the heart by targeting not only body fat but also visceral fat – the deep gel-like fat that wraps around major organs and can contribute to a number of illnesses – in the body. HIIT is suggested as one of the best forms of exercise when trying to lose weight, with numerous studies finding that HIIT helps you consume more oxygen than a non-interval workout routine. When more oxygen is consumed, your metabolism rate after a session increases, and this increased metabolic rate is what helps you to burn calories and fat at a faster rate.