Unless you've been living under a rock you probably already know about some of the benefits of HIIT. Now we can add a new one to the list. A recent study shows that HIIT or high intensity interval training is better than steady state cardio at reducing blood pressure.
Most people who have an interest in fitness and fat loss protocols will be aware of the advantages of HIIT over traditional steady state cardio where you spend 30-60 minutes pounding away on a running machine or exercise bike.
HIIT which involves doing short maximal intensity sprints typically lasting 30 seconds to a minute separated by a short rest or low intensity cardio lasting 1 to 4 minutes has been proven to be as good as steady state cardio at building aerobic and anaerobic fitness and superior at burning fat.
HIIT increases levels of the fat burning hormones epinephrine, norepinephrine and growth hormone more than steady state cardio. In one study people performing HIIT had growth hormone levels which were still ten times higher than baseline levels after 1 hour of recovery.
What does the new study show?
In the latest study 47 young people around sixteen years of age either ran for twenty minutes three times a week or did 4 to 6 sprints with 30 seconds rest in between. The study lasted for 7 weeks.
As in previous studies this study confirmed the effectiveness of HIIT in improving body composition and aerobic fitness. However it also revealed that reductions in blood pressure in the HIIT group were better than the steady running group.
So now we have another reason to recommend HIIT.
Boutcher SH. High-intensity intermittent exercise and fat loss. J Obes. 2011;2011:868305. Epub 2010 Nov 24. Click here to read study
Buchan DS et al. The effects of time and intensity of exercise on novel and established markers of CVD in adolescent youth. Am J Hum Biol. 2011 Apr 4. Click here to read study