5 Reasons to Try HIIT

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

1. Got a sec?

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

2. Any workout can be HIIT.

Whether running, swimming, walking, cycling, even using the elliptical, 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.

3. It builds muscle.

And muscle could burn more calories. According to an Australian study, 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.

4. Up your fat burn.

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

5. You don't need a gym.

Forget searching for a Zumba class; 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.

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