What is High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)?

Last updated March 1, 2024

For more than a century, athletes have embraced interval training as a means to enhance performance. But its modern form, high-intensity interval training or HIIT, has gained increasing popularity in the last several years.

Clearly, HIIT programs hit it big as a wellness trend back in 2017 and never looked back. And once again, it appears this will continue to be a major wellness trend for the years to come.

But as is common within the wellness industry, change is constant. And some new versions of HIIT programs look to be on the horizon. 

What Are HIIT Programs? 

While some have employed HIIT programs that vary from key standards, the basics of HIIT have been well described.

In essence, HIIT sessions involve brief intervals of intense athletic activity followed by less intense exercise. Generally speaking, HIIT programs should get one’s maximum heart rate up to 80 percent or more of its maximum.

This is then performed for one to five minutes followed by a reduced level of activity for about twice the time. As you can appreciate, this type of workout demands much more of its participants than a standard exercise routine. 

What Benefits Do High-Intensity Programs Offer?

One of the reasons high-intensity interval training has become so popular as a wellness trend relates to the benefits these programs offer. Numerous wellness retreats and fitness bootcamps include HIIT sessions because of this.

The most appealing aspect of HIIT is that it is highly efficient. In as little as 15 minutes, one can burn as many calories (if not more) than a workout lasting a full hour.

Likewise, high-intensity interval training has been shown to burn more fatty tissue while preserving muscle mass. And this has evolved as a wellness trend because of its benefits to heart health and enhanced metabolism.

For these reasons, the newest wellness trends are exploring how HIIT can be better incorporated into other activities. 

Over the last few years, several fitness programs have included high-intensity interval training programs in their routines. Some of the most well-known include companies like Orange Theory and CrossFit.

Similarly, numerous destinations for wellness travel now incorporate these programs into dedicated retreats and fitness getaways. This trend in wellness is expected to persist, with more activities embracing HIIT in the future.

Take AthleticFlow yoga, an innovative wellness activity that combines yoga with high-intensity sessions. In addition to lengthening and strengthening muscles, this activity offers increased calorie burning as well. 

Science Embraces HIIT Programs

Many research studies have now recognized the health benefits that high-intensity interval training programs offer. In fact, one effect of HIIT exercise involves improvements in the body’s ability to better use oxygen.

Measured as VO2Max, science has found that this measure is the best predictor of overall health. And because high-intensity training improves VO2Max, it is no surprise that newer wellness trends will continue to explore their role in health.

If you’re looking for a highly efficient way to get in top shape, then you might want to consider high-intensity interval training. This is one wellness trend that is likely to persist based on the array of benefits it offers. 

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