7 Benefits of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

Most people know that physical activity is good for their health, but it’s estimated that about 20% of the world’s population doesn’t get enough exercise every day. Unless you have a physically demanding job, a fitness program is probably your best option for staying active. However, many people feel that they do not have enough time to exercise.

If this is the case, try high-intensity interval training (HIIT). HIIT is a general term for training that alternates between short periods of intense exercise and periods of recovery. One of the biggest benefits of HIIT is that it allows you to get the most health benefits in the least amount of time.

In this article, we’ll explain what HIIT is and highlight its top seven health benefits.

What is High Intensity Interval Training?

HIIT alternates short bursts of intense exercise with periods of low-intensity recovery. Interestingly, this is probably the most effective method of exercise.
A HIIT workout typically lasts 10 to 30 minutes. Despite the short duration of the session, you get twice the health benefits for him of moderate-intensity exercise. The activities performed may vary, but may include sprinting, biking, skipping, or other bodyweight exercises.

For example, a HIIT workout on a stationary bike might consist of cycling as fast as possible at high resistance for 30 seconds, followed by a few minutes of slow, easy cycling at low resistance. This is called a HIIT “round” or “rep,” and typically in a workout he completes 4-6 reps.

The specific duration of exercise and recovery depends on the activity you choose and the intensity of your exercise. No matter how you implement this strategy, high-intensity intervals should include short bursts of intense exercise that gets your heart rate up. HIIT not only offers the benefits of longer periods of exercise in a much shorter amount of time, it also offers unique health benefits.

7 Benefits of HIIT Training

1. HIIT burns a lot of calories in a short amount of time.

HIIT burns calories quickly. One study compared his calorie burn during 30 minutes of HIIT, strength training, running, and cycling. Researchers have found that HIIT makes him burn 25-30% more calories than other forms of exercise. In this study, one repetition of HIIT consisted of 20 seconds of maximum effort and his 40 seconds of rest. This means that the participant exercised only one third of the time the running and cycling groups spent. In this study, each workout lasted 30 minutes, although HIIT workouts are typically much shorter than traditional exercise sessions. This is because HIIT burns about the same number of calories while spending less time training.

2. Your metabolic rate will be higher for a few hours after HIIT exercise.

One way HIIT can actually help you burn calories is post-workout. Several studies have demonstrated the impressive ability of HIIT to boost your metabolic rate for hours after exercise. Some researchers have even found that HIIT boosts post-workout metabolism more than jogging or weight training. The same study also found that HIIT can shift the body’s metabolism toward using fat for energy instead of carbohydrates.

3. HIIT Helps You Lose Fat

Studies have shown that HIIT can help you lose fat. One review looked at 13 trials and 424 overweight or obese adults. Interestingly, both HIIT and traditional moderate-intensity exercise can reduce body fat and waist circumference. A series of other studies have also shown that HIIT can reduce body fat despite relatively short exercise durations. However, like any exercise, HIIT may be more effective for fat loss in overweight or obese people.

4. HIIT Builds Muscle

HIIT not only helps you lose fat, but it can also help some people gain muscle mass. However, muscle mass gains primarily concern the most stressed muscles, often the torso and leg muscles.In addition, muscle mass gains occur in people who were less active to begin with. Some studies on active people have shown no increase in muscle mass after HIIT programs. Strength training remains the primary form of exercise for increasing muscle mass, but high-intensity intervals may promote growth of smaller muscles.

5. HIIT Can Improve Oxygen Consumption

Oxygen uptake is the ability of muscles to utilize oxygen. Endurance training is commonly used to improve oxygen uptake. Traditionally, these are long sessions of continuous running or cycling at a steady pace. However, HIIT appears to be able to produce the same effects in less time. In one study, a participant who did his 20-minute HIIT workout four days a week for five weeks found that his oxygen consumption improved by 9%. This improvement in oxygen uptake was similar to other study groups that cycled continuously for 40 minutes a day, four days a week. Another study found that he increased his oxygen consumption by about 25% after 8 weeks of conventional exercise or his HIIT exercise bike. Again, total time spent exercising varied significantly between groups. Traditional exercise is 120 minutes a week and HIIT is 60 minutes a week. Other studies have also shown that HIIT can improve oxygen consumption.

6. HIIT lowers heart rate and blood pressure

High-intensity interval training also has significant health benefits. Many studies have shown that it may lower heart rate and blood pressure in overweight and obese people, where high blood pressure is common. found that it lowered blood pressure as much as conventional continuous endurance training in hypertensive adults. In this study, the endurance training group exercised for 30 minutes a day, four days a week, while the HIIT group only exercised for 20 minutes a day, three times a week. Some researchers have even found that HIIT may lower blood pressure more than the frequently recommended moderate-intensity exercise. However, in people with “normal” BMI and normal blood pressure, high-intensity exercise does not seem to change blood pressure in general.

7. HIIT Can Lower Blood Sugar Levels

A HIIT program lasting less than 12 weeks can lower blood sugar levels. A review of 50 studies found that HIIT not only lowers blood sugar levels but also improves insulin resistance better than conventional continuous exercise. can be particularly beneficial.
In fact, several studies conducted specifically with people with type 2 diabetes have demonstrated the effectiveness of HIIT in improving blood sugar levels. However, studies in healthy people show that HIIT may improve insulin resistance better than traditional continuous exercise.

8. HIIT Improves Aerobic and Anaerobic Exercise Performance

While its health benefits are very important, HIIT also improves anaerobic and aerobic exercise performance. Whether you’re an athlete, a weekend warrior, or simply love running with your kids, HIIT training will improve your performance on these tasks in just a few short sessions a week.

How to start HIIT

There are many ways to add high-intensity intervals to your exercise routine, so getting started isn’t difficult. Simply select an activity (running, cycling, jumping rope, etc.) to get started. Then you can experiment with different exercise and recovery times, or intense exercise and recovery times.


The following tips will help you create your own HIIT routine.

Choose a low-intensity, familiar modality. For example, if you haven’t been jogging lately, you don’t need to put all your effort into running.

If you have joint pain, start with low-impact activities such as cycling or swimming.

Get plenty of rest. The only way to maintain adequate HIIT intensity is to rest for at least as long as you work.

Keep working time under 30 seconds. Any workout longer than 30 seconds will have a harder time maintaining the intensity required to be considered HIIT.

Start with a few cycles twice a week. HIIT training is very demanding, especially when it comes to high-efficiency modalities. Proper recovery between workouts is essential to avoid injury.


Here’s a quick example of a HIIT workout.

Using a stationary bike, pedal as hard and fast as you can for 30 seconds. Then pedal for 2-4 minutes at a slow, easy pace. Repeat this pattern for 15 to 30 minutes.

Warm up with a jog, then sprint for 15 seconds. Then walk or jog for 1-2 minutes at a slow pace. Repeat this pattern for 10-20 minutes.

Bungee jump as fast as you can for 30-90 seconds. Then stand and walk for 30-90 seconds. Repeat this pattern for 10-20 minutes.
These examples will help you get started, but you can modify the program to your liking.

In summary

High-intensity interval training is a highly effective form of exercise that helps you burn more calories than other forms of exercise. Some of the calories burned during high-intensity intervals are due to the high metabolism that persists for several hours after exercise. Overall, HIIT has the same health benefits as other forms of exercise, but for less time. These benefits include lower body fat, heart rate and blood pressure. HIIT also helps lower blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity. So if you’re short on time and want to be active, consider trying high-intensity interval training.

* Presse Santé strives to impart health knowledge in languages ​​accessible to all. In no event can the information given replace the advice of a medical professional.

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