According to the Canadian Physical Activity Guideline, adults should engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity aerobic physical activity per week. Although the health benefits of exercise are well-established from many research studies, people who want to start exercise often state that they “do not have time for exercise”. In fact, lack of time is the most common barrier to starting an exercise training program.
Fortunately, engaging in high intensity interval training (HIIT) can offset that issue. In contrast to regular moderate-intensity continuous training (MICT), HIIT is a training method that has similar training effect but requires less time commitment. It uses higher intensity to achieve the same volume of exercise in less amount of time.
HIIT includes alternating bouts of near maximum intensity exercise (approximately 45-240 seconds), followed by equal or longer bouts of light-moderate intensity aerobic exercise (approximately 60-360 seconds).
A typical HIIT training will be 3 sessions per week. 30 minutes per session. Within that, 15 minutes are dedicated to proper warm-up and cool-down; the other 15 minutes will include vigorous exercise interspersed by low intensity aerobic activity (“rest”).
Research show that both HIIT and MICT have similar effectiveness in improving body compositions and blood pressure. And HIIT has an even greater positive effect than MICT on cardiorespiratory fitness (Vo2 max) in individual with hypertension.
Individuals with medical conditions or do not engage in regular physical activity might need to consult their therapist before initiating a HIIT program.