High Intensity Interval Training can be a controversial subject. It’s been in the mainstream for the past few years, and while more and more people do like to do it because it’s quick and efficient, there are other schools of thought that say that too much of it is bad for us, whether it’s because of spiking levels of cortisol or because it actually can tend to increase people’s appetites. Too much of anything, though can be bad, and for most people, incorporating HIIT is a good thing. And now we have studies that indicate that small doses of quick bursts of training can actually add years to your life.
Did you know that a 10-minute workout could add years to your life? A new study published in Jama Internal Medicine revealed that even small amounts of high-intensity exercise could add years to your life expectancy, regardeless of gender, current BMI (Body Mass Index), pre-existing cardiovascular disease or diabetes.
I don’t know about you, but this is music to my ears. As the days seem to get busier, I like to get the most out of my workout in the shortest amount of time possible!
In the study, researchers observed the exercise habits and health of more than 200,000 Australian adults, ages 45 – 75, over an eight-year time span. Participants were broken up into three groups: those who participated in moderate exercise (leisure swimming, daily chores, etc.), those who participated in vigorous exercise (running, aerobic classes, etc.) up to 30 percent of the time, and those who exercised vigorously more than 30 percent of the time.
They found that those who participated in vigorous exercise up to 30 percent of the time had a 9 percent lower mortality risk, and those at the most strenuous level were 13 percent less likely to die early.
That means a 20-minute HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workout could pay off more in the end than that hour-long leisure stroll through the park.
So what exactly qualifies as high intensity exercise?
On a scale of 1 – 10, vigorous exercise is about a 7 or 8, according to the Department of Health and Human Services (or your spin instructor as we are always measuring exertion by numbers… ha!).
If you feel like you heart is beating out of your chest and you’re struggling to grab it and put it back in, you have probably pushed yourself a little too hard. You want to aim for just below what seems nearly impossible. Challenging, but manageable.
The following activities can be classified as vigorous activity. Find the activity that you enjoy the most and aim to make it part of your daily routine!
- Racewalking, jogging, or running
- Swimming laps
- Competitive tennis
- Aerobic dancing
- Bicycling 10 miles per hour or faster
- Jumping rope
- Heavy gardening (continuous digging or hoeing, with heart rate increases)
- Hiking uphill or with a heavy backpack
- Stair Climbing
HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workouts are also becoming a popular workout alternative among fitness enthusiasts, and you can find many programs and training guides online.
This is not an exhaustive list, so choose whatever activity keeps you motivated towards healthy living and your heart pumping! After all, why wouldn’t you want to do a 10-minute workout that could add years to your life?
Carly Ferguson is a health and wellness advocate and founder of FitLiving, a lifestyle blog that educates and motivates others towards a healthy lifestyle. She believes that living well encompasses four key areas: nutrition, physical fitness, mental health, and healthy relationships and that everyone’s journey is as unique as the individual himself.