Have you ever heard the expression, “less is more”?
Now recent studies are showing that when it comes to keeping fit, less can indeed be more.
And I’ve found, for me at least, that’s absolutely PERFECT during the holidays since we all need to keep our fitness up to deal with the increased chores, tasks, stress, and food .
Everyone is so time-starved in the weeks leading up to the holidays and so it can be pretty difficult to maintain any exercise and workout routines you might have.
Enter High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).
This is exercise time, which is split up into short bursts of intensive exercise followed by rest periods. The idea is to quickly increase your heart rate then to rest for a period.
How Short Bursts of Exercise Benefit
HIIT helps the body reach its maximum capability. This is not something easily achieved by long exercise periods. Short burst of exercise gets the heart rate increased to a higher intensity and stimulates the body in ways that can’t be achieved by ‘regular’ exercising.
Therefore, these exercise periods of short bursts of intense exercise can be done by almost everyone and doesn’t necessarily require special equipment or a gym membership.
The Health Benefits
More and more studies are showing that there are definite health benefits to high-intensity interval training. Positive results have been shown in those who have type 2 diabetes and proved to be a more effective way to burn fat and lost weight.
Running on a treadmill will burn fat. However, the lower intensity, which the body is working at, doesn’t have the metabolic benefits of short bursts of exercise. What happens is that when you have an intense burst of exercise you create an oxygen debt. To recover from this (during the rest period) the body will have to use energy.
Therefore, you keep burning fat when you are resting. This also increases the body’s metabolism.
All exercising increases the levels of the hormone cortisol. What cortisol does in the body is to break down muscle and stall fat loss.
Therefore, although you are burning energy, you aren’t necessarily losing a lot of fat. Unlike regular exercising, short bursts of exercise raise muscle-building hormones (anabolic) and human growth hormones resulting in more fat being burned that with regular exercising.
Therefore, short bursts of exercise together with rest periods boost the body’s immunity, reduce inflammation, and stimulate fat burning properties.
Improves Heart Health
A study on teenagers in England found that short bursts of exercise could help reduce the risk of developing heart disease and diabetes in later life.
It showed improvements in how the brain controls heartbeats and in the function of blood vessels. In adults, it was noted that heart structure was improved.
Type 2 Diabetes
Many studies now show that High-Intensity Interval Training helps type 2 diabetes suffers to control blood sugar more effectively than ‘traditional’ exercising.
One study in Canada reported that participants who, over a three month period, we subject to HIIT regime showed a larger reduction in cholesterol and blood sugar levels, their heart health was better and in general lost more weight.
It was also noted that it was easier for people to incorporate a high-intensity exercising schedule into their weekly routine and therefore were more willing to continue the exercise program.
Why Short Bursts Of Exercise Can Benefit Everyone
It seems from various studies that even shorter ‘burst exercise’ periods of under a minute or so can also have significant health benefits. This means that most people will be able fit HIIT into their schedule.
For many it is also a more enjoyable form of exercise. Endurance exercise – running for half an hour or so on a treadmill can be physically and mentally draining for many. Others just don’t have the time to go to the gym 2 or 3 times a week.
So, consider short-burst exercise and workout routines this holiday season to help maintain your desired levels of fitness. Don’t let the “no time for exercise” keep you down!
Beginner Burst Training How-To
I found this excellent short video which can easily and safely get you started with burst training.