An estimated 80% of American adults and adolescents currently fail to meet the minimum physical activity recommendations.
In a detailed scientific report outlining new guidelines for physical activity, The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recommended exercising in smaller, more frequent time periods — or more specifically, high-intensity interval training, or HIIT for short.
HIIT has become increasingly popular over the years due to its effectiveness and time-saving nature, since you perform a series of exercises in short bursts with small bits of rest in between.
Chris Jordan, an exercise scientist, asserts that HIIT workouts "can provide similar or greater benefits in less time than traditional longer, moderate-intensity workouts." Furthermore, a 2013 review of studies in the International Journal of Cardiology found that HIIT workouts provided similar benefits to regular intensity workouts, in addition to better peak oxygen uptake, which is a measure of endurance.
An analysis of three former studies on HIIT by the HHS determined HIIT "can effectively improve cardiorespiratory fitness (increase VO2 max) in adults with varied body weight and health status." HIIT exercises can also help with insulin levels, blood pressure, and body composition, the report noted.
Unlike other fitness and health trends, HIIT has a low barrier to entry thanks to its flexibility, low cost, and small time commitment. According to the American Council on Exercise, HIIT workouts tend to last no longer than 30 minutes. One can also perform a HIIT workouts virtually anywhere since one can mix and match a variety of bodyweight exercises to create a routine.
Complete this circuit three times with a 30-second rest between each round.
- Jumping Jacks: 20 reps or 40 reps
- Squat: 10 reps or 20 reps
- Incline push-up: 10 seconds or 20 seconds
- Plank: 30 seconds or 40 seconds
- Single-Leg Glute Bridge: 5 reps each leg or 10 reps each leg
Since HIIT exercises require no equipment, no gym membership, and very little time commitment, there is no excuse not to get physically active. Just grab some workout clothes and get fit.