It’s no secret that high-intensity interval training, or HIIT for short, is one of the hottest fitness trends in gyms across the nation. But is it really that much better than traditional slow and steady cardio? Consider this: Adding HIIT to your workout a couple of times per week effectively torches fat with a minimal time commitment. It also boosts cardiorespiratory health and might even help you live longer!
Studies suggest that regularly including HIIT as part of your weekly fitness plan reduces more subcutaneous and abdominal body fat than other types of exercise. According to Australian researcher Stephen Boutcher, Ph.D., associate professor of medicine at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, HIIT pumps up both aerobic and anaerobic fitness, lowers insulin resistance, improves glucose tolerance and enhances skeletal muscle fat oxidation. But HIIT’s benefits don’t stop there.
A recent study that appeared in the journal Cell Metabolism found that high-intensity interval training caused cells to make more proteins for their energy-producing mitochondria and their protein-building ribosomes, effectively calling a halt to aging at the cellular level. The trial, which involved two groups — those age 18 to 30 and those age 65 to 80 — looked at the impact HIIT and weight workouts had on cells. While the younger volunteers saw an impressive 49 percent increase in mitochondrial capacity when participating in the HIIT workout, the older volunteers experienced an even more dramatic 69 percent increase.
Want to get all the goods HIIT has to offer? Here are five must-try moves to get you started: