Ever missed out on a workout session because your work schedule didn’t allow it, or you had an engagement you just couldn’t miss? It happens with all of us, and our workouts always seem to be the unfortunate casualty. What can you do when you need to hit the gym but your schedule doesn’t allow it? According to recent research, HIIT is your best bet because a few minutes can have the same effect as monger, less intense exercise sessions.
Published in the American Journal of Physiology—Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology in September 2018, the study involved eight young adult volunteers performing cycling workouts of varying intensity and durations.
Moderate intensity consisted of 30 minutes of continuous exercise at 50 per cent peak effort.
High-intensity interval exercise consisted of five four-minute cycling sessions at 75 per cent peak effort, each separated by one minute of rest.
Sprint cycling consisted of four 30-second sessions at maximum effort, each separated by 4.5 minutes of recovery time.
The researchers then measured the amount of energy the volunteers spent on each workout and compared changes in the participants’ thigh muscles at a cellular level before and after each exercise session.
The researchers found that levels of hydrogen peroxide in different parts of the mitochondria change after exercise. Too much of it can be damaging to the cells, but the researchers noted that after the high intensity workout, the volunteers’ levels were at the right level to potentially promote cell responses that benefit metabolic function rather than cause damage.
They also noted that fewer minutes of higher-intensity exercise produced similar mitochondrial responses compared to a longer moderate-intensity activity. They revealed that a total of only two minutes of sprint interval exercise elicited similar responses as 30 minutes of continuous moderate-intensity aerobic exercise did. This suggests that when it comes to working out during a time crunch, focusing on HIIT will reap the same benefits as a lower intensity workout stretched out over a longer time period would have done.
What Are Your Options?
Now that you know how useful HIIT can be when you’re hard pressed for time, what kind of HIIT should you go for? There are several options you can choose form. If you’re at home, then classic bodyweight exercises like pushups, mountain climbers and burpees would be your best options. If you can afford to head out, sprint drills area great way to burn fat and build endurance. If you can squeeze in a quick gym workout, HIIT can be used to build muscle while burning fat with weights or through a quick battle ropes workout. And if you’re in the mood for something different, why not put on some tunes sweat it out with Zumba?