HIIT, or High Intensity Interval Training, is a form of exercise where you do rounds of hard exercises “near maximum effort” followed by sequences of low-intensity exercise. It has been shown to aid blood sugar, weight management and improve fitness. It efficiently burns fat and removes sugar from muscles, aiding insulin resistance.
HIIT can sound impossible to a person who lives a largely sedentary life. However, everything is relative. Working out as hard as you can in bursts means different things to different people. HIIT doesn’t require running five miles as a high-intensity burst; anything that gets your blood pumping hard counts. That varies for each person.
Any exercise that gets your heart beating fast would work. You might choose cycling, running, climbing stairs, rowing, cross-training, swimming, jumping jacks or any exercise that works for you. Taking breaks from that with stretches, walking or yoga can help burn more energy.
Each person is different. HIIT workouts consist of “rounds.” The workout is 10 to 30 minutes long. Someone with experience and good physical fitness might do 20 seconds of vigorous pedaling on a stationary bike followed by 40 seconds of slow, low-resistant pedaling. For someone who is just starting out or who isn’t in peak shape, they might do 30 seconds of sprinting followed by a couple of minutes of walking. You don’t start out doing a hash workout. You match your physical fitness to your routine.
During a HIIT workout, the body’s heart rate constantly changes, causing excess post-exercise oxygen consumption. After a workout, the body still burns calories and sugar faster than normal. HIIT speeds the metabolism more than traditional cardio or weight lifting.
It’s important to not stop moving during a HIIT workout. The low-intensity periods shouldn’t be a time to stop. That can lead to a build-up of lactic acid. And sticking with HIIT is important; the benefits grow over time. You should have at least two days to go for gentle walks or do simple yoga instead. Significant health benefits are seen from HIIT in six to eight weeks.
As with any exercise routine, you should speak to your doctor before starting HIIT. It’s not right for everybody. Some people are at higher risk for injury, and your doctor might want to talk to you about your best options for exercise. For people with arthritis, there are specially designed HIIT workouts designed to be low-impact on joints. For people with heart concerns, it might not be the best exercise plan.
Research has found that less than 12 weeks of HIIT workouts meaningfully reduce blood sugar. Studies show HIIT improves insulin resistance more than traditional exercise. While it might not be the right fit for everyone, it can be an excellent solution for many people with blood sugar concerns. Speak to your doctor and try HIIT for yourself.