3 HIIT Training Benefits

If you’ve read our recent post on The Importance of Knowing Your Heart Rate, you can see how excited we are about the topic of Heart Rate. Our next article, Finding Your Heart Rate will help those of you that may be unaware of exactly how to find and use the information we provided in our first article. Now we’ll talk about how to improve your resting heart rate and 3 HIIT training benefits.

We found  these AARP articles that list 3 HIIT training benefits that we think you’ll enjoy (see article quotes below):

Can you think of other HIIT benefits?

Before I purchased my Fitbit, I had no idea how important heart rate is as an indicator of our heart health. And that’s what we want to share. Now keep in mind, I have a Fitbit Alta HR so that’s what these articles talk about, and Fitbit’s are great, but you don’t need to use a Fitbit or a Fitbit app. You can find inexpensive trackers that you can find on Amazon. And while the tracker is a great tool to capture the data, the app that shows historic information is even more effective. Use them together to monitor and consistently improve your fitness level.

The best way to improve your Resting Heart Rate

Fitbit-App-Showing-Weekly-Resting-Heart for HIIT training
Fitbit screen showing resting bpm for a week.

Now that we’ve been thinking about our heart rate, it just makes sense to take it to the next level.

And looking back at history, I can see that several times in the past, I’ve achieved my goal with a resting rate of 68 bpm. What I need to do now is to pay attention to what I am doing and understand why it can fluctuate between 75 and 68 over the course of several months. Was it stress? Was I exercising more on the low days, or the day after I exercised? What type of exercise was I doing? Cardio (endurance), Stretching (flexibility, Weights (strength), or was I focused on balancing?

So, how we can improve our Heart Rate from being in the ‘ABOVE AVERAGE’ category to the ‘GOOD‘ category we mentioned a few weeks ago?

The Answer: HIIT

After a normal cardio training session, the metabolism swiftly slows down afterwards. When you use HIIT, the body actually continues to burn energy for many hours after the short but highly intensive training sessions. This is also called the “afterburn-effect”.

 

What is HIIT and how does it work?                                                   ∼ by Holmes Place

So, What is HIIT?

High-Intensity Training (HIIT) is any exercise routine where you push yourself to the max performance for short bursts. After a warm-up aerobic exercise (at least 3 minutes), you would up your pace until you are too out of breath to speak. A beginner might try 20 seconds of intense workout followed by 2 minutes of recovery. The total workout time would last about 10 minutes for a beginner. Intermediate and advanced HIIT workouts last about 30 minutes in total and would include longer periods of intense burn, followed again by your normal pace. These short bursts of intensity are the key to the benefits of HIIT training.

Think You’re Too Old for HIIT? Think Again…

Being in my early 60’s, I figured I was past trying HIIT. My hip osteoarthritis makes jumping out of the question, so I thought I’d pass and leave HIIT to younger people. Then I found some great articles on AARP about HIIT exercises. Not surprisingly, the articles makes it sound simple, but it is not.

I currently exercise 3-4 days a week for about 30 minutes a day. And I do try to get the four (4) exercises types into my week, but I don’t go crazy (if you know what I mean…) and in the 3 ½ years I’ve been exercising, I never tried HIIT. So after reading an AARP article, I was very interested. But please note that it is difficult to do and you really have to push yourself, but in a good way.

3 HIIT Training Benefits …

On Weight Loss
Beyond strength training, if you can take your overall exercise program up a notch, do so.

 

Older adults who did high-intensity interval training (HIIT), which entails short spurts of high-intensity exercise, not only lost weight but also had less DNA damage to muscle cells. And this helped trigger growth of new muscle.

~ AARP: 5 Key Ways to Lose Weight After 50

On Aging
High-intensity interval training — or HIIT — has become very popular in the last decade as a fast-paced routine that alternates between a short burst of intense aerobic exercise, such as sprinting or cycling at full speed, followed by a brief lower-intensity period. This pattern is repeated, usually for about 15 to 20 minutes, although some say even half that long is beneficial.

 

But the new study, published in Cell Metabolism, finds interval training has additional benefits for older adults, namely reversing signs of aging within cells.

~ AARP: Ultimate Workout to Reverse the Effects of Aging

May be a Miracle Workout
Perhaps most exciting of all: HIIT seems to be able to turn back the clock on a cellular level, improving the function of mitochondria (the battery cells of the body). And the older you are, the greater its impact, according to studies. Example A: Robert Marchand, who turns 107 this month.

 

When he was 101, Marchand set a world record …  But today, Marchand appears to be getting even stronger than he was when he set the record – so much so, in fact, that in the past few years his peak pedal power has increased by an incredible 40 percent. When measured last year, Marchand had the fitness level of the average 50-year-old, thanks to HIIT.

~AARP: High-Intensity Interval Training: Why It Just May Be a ‘Miracle’ Workout

Are you convinced that HIIT Training has many benefits?

My intent was to use the information I found in AARP to try HIIT so I could report back to you on the benefits of HIIT training. Well, I did 2 Sundays (my endurance day) and 30 minutes on the treadmill and then went on vacation. I sat in an airport for an hour and then a plane for 4 ½ hours. So I knew that I would have to start over when I got back home.

But when I went over my stats, the results were surprising enough to share. While I didn’t see the results that will get me to that coveted ‘GOOD’ Heart Rate, it did show that even my brief (not entirely successful) attempt at HIIT improved my resting heart rate.

Let’s take a look.

  • 5/5 – 71 bpm – 30 minutes on a lateral elliptical (previous HR was about 71 pretty consistently)…
  • 5/9 – 69 bpm – assuming that the effect wasn’t going to be instantaneous, my resting HR dropped 2 points (because of my HIIT training on Sunday?)
  • 5/11 – 70 bpm – a travel day and I was pretty much sedentary all day – rose a point
  • 5/12 – 71 bpm – vacation – relaxing by the pool – up another point
  • 5/13 – 72 bpm – more relaxation – up another point
  • 5/15 – 73 bpm – more relaxation – up another point
  • 5/18 – 74 bpm – back to sitting in an airport for a few hours before boarding a plane for another 4 ½ hours – up another point

The Difference Just 2 Weeks Can Make

In less than 2 weeks my Heart Rate went from a low of 69 “ABOVE AVERAGE” to “AVERAGE”. This, I believe, is related to lack of exercise, sleeping in, and eating restaurant food all week. And interesting enough this week, back at work and being more diligent about my exercise and nutrition (homemade food with less fat and salt), my resting HR went from 73 on Sunday to 70 on Thursday.

HIIT Training - Week Over Week Heart Rate

Set Goals and Make it Fun!

We’ll continue to work HIIT into our exercise routine and report back to you about our efforts to make the “GOOD”, or maybe even someday an “EXCELLENT” resting heart rate category. But in the meantime, with a solid goal I can make my HIIT exercises challenging and fun. Stay tuned!

Give HIIT exercising a try and be sure to see The Importance of Knowing Your Heart Rate for Heart Rate Charts so you know your rates before you start. Then track them.

Have you tried HIIT training? Do you like it? Did you feel any of the HIIT training benefits mentioned above?

We hope you found this information useful and want to thank you for spending time with us today.  Please purchase though our website links from our affiliate, Amazon. They pay us an advertising fee (at no charge to you) for those purchases made through our links. We appreciate your patronage as these fees help support our efforts. Thank you for thinking of us. Wishing you the best of health!

Note: This information is our personal opinion and should not be taken as medical advice. Many factors can influence your ability to safely exercise. Please be sure to see your Doctor before starting or increasing your exercise routine. Your doctor will advise you about what exercises are right for you.

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Author: Joan E Wilder

We provide information and motivation focused on the importance of physical activity to our quality of life. It is our hope to help people invest in themselves by staying active throughout their lives. It's that important.

5 thoughts

  1. I do a version of HIIT on my treadmill. I run for 2 minutes at alternating speeds. Sometimes I’m maxing out and sometimes it’s a slow jog. I didn’t record my results and I started doing it for weight loss. However, I got sick and had to stop, I’m just starting to run again and it feels great. :) Do you have a specific routine you do?

    1. Hi Lisa, I just restarted – trying to use interval in my lateral elliptical on Sunday’s – I was able to do 5- 1 minute spurts during my half-hour session. I can’t run because of my hip arthritis, but I love the lateral. I am fortunate to have a fitbit, so it’ll be recorded for me – I’ll let you know how it goes. How long do you run for? Do you think HIIT was of benefit to you?
      Thanks for spending time with us today Lisa – wishing you the best of health!

      1. Thanks, Joan. I think it was a benefit, but I wasn’t able to do it for long because I got bronchitis and had to take about a month off. That’s one horrible virus!! Plus my kids got it, so I had to take care of them. I have a feeling it’ll help with my weight loss goals. I’ll keep you posted. Let me know how your routine goes. :)

        1. I know what you mean – Bronchitis is awful. It’s not only painful to cough, but it takes so long to recover from. I am glad you are on the mend and hope your loved ones are too.
          So far so good on my HIIT, I will definitely keep you posted. I’ll share my results in an article. Thank you so much for stopping by Lisa – I hope you visit often!

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