High-intensity interval training—better known as HIIT—is something most people either really love or totally dread with not much room in between. Mostly thanks to the burpees. Although it’s been around for quite a while, the exercise—which involves short bursts of intense exercise with recovery periods—has garnered more attention in recent years, not only because you can squeeze in a super-effective workout in minimal time, but also for its long list of impressive health benefits.
The Benefits of HIIT
If you’re looking for a way to increase your heart rate and work up a sweat in the least amount of time possible, HIIT should be your go-to. Heck, you can even do it over your lunch break and still have time to shower before heading back to the office. Aside from helping you lose weight and increase your metabolism, plenty of studies have also backed up its ability to improve your overall health. A 2017 study published in the journal Cell Metabolism found HIIT workouts can help can reverse cellular aging, helping you feel and look younger as you get older, and another 2016 study published in the journal BMJ found it can also help lower your blood pressure and keep your heart healthy. Then when it comes to your mental well-being, it’s got your back—or, uhh, your head?—there too: a 2017 study published in the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience found just six weeks of HIIT sessions can give your memory a boost.
The Pros and Cons of HIIT
While there are plenty of pros of HIIT—like being able to burn more calories in a shorter period of time and effectively help you lose body weight—it can also be easy to overdo it, which can stress out your body. That’s good news for your workout schedule, though. Because it’s so intense, you don’t need to do it every single day. Your body needs a chance to recover, after all.
How to Get a Solid HIIT Workout
So, just how often should you do HIIT in order to reap the most benefits? According to Lana Herzig, a New York City-based personal trainer, all you really need is three 15-minute sessions a week to start seeing (and feeling!) the results. And, the best part? According to Herzig, you don’t need any fancy equipment—or even a nice place to work out at. All that’s required is your own body weight and some space to move around in. No matter when or where you’re doing HIIT, you’ll end up with a sweat-inducing workout that benefits your well-being from the inside-out.