Why you should HIIT

Get all the good things fitness has to offer in about half the time with this crazy-popular way to work out.
Published November 16, 2015

HIIT (high-intensity interval training) alternates short bouts of vigorous activity with easy recovery intervals. And intensity is relative; it could range from running to fast walking, depending on the person (check with your doctor before increasing activity). 


5 Reasons to try HIIT

1. Got a sec? 

While many workouts use 30-second vigorous intervals, performing a move for a mere 8 seconds may be just as effective, according to an Australian study. As you get stronger and build endurance, increase your intervals until you reach half a minute.


2. Any workout can be HIIT. 

Whether walking, running, swimming, cycling, even using the elliptical, simply pick up your pace for the high intensity interval (8 to 30 seconds), and then slow down to recover for double the time. In a pool or on a track, use laps for intervals: one lap fast, and then 1, 2 or 3 laps to recover.

RELATED: Exercise intensity and how to use it


3. It builds muscle. 

And muscle could burn more calories. After 15 weeks of HIIT cycling, women increased muscle in their trunk and legs and lost, on average, 5½ pounds of fat in these areas, according to an Australian study.


4. You don't need a gym. 

Forget searching for a Zumba class; just alternate a high-impact move (jumping jacks) or a high-intensity one (mountain climbers) with a recovery exercise, like marching in place, for a no equipment- needed HIIT workout.

RELATED: Should you join a gym?


5. Up your fat burn. 

After doing HIIT for two weeks, women who then rode a stationary bike burned 36 percent more fat, on average, than when they cycled prior to starting the workouts, Canadian researchers found.

RELATED: A beginner's guide to interval training