7 Potential Health Benefits of HIIT (Everyday Health)

Posted: Dec 21, 2023 in In the News

This article originally appeared in Everyday Health on December 21, 2023.


7 Potential Health Benefits of HIIT

By Karen Asp

Are you familiar with the saying “Less is more”? In the realm of fitness, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) is a prime example. These workouts, defined by alternating short bursts of vigorous exercise with brief rest periods, pack an impressive number of health benefits into a small time frame — sometimes as little as four minutes!

Because HIIT is more intense than other workout types, it may not be appropriate for everyone. Check with your doctor first if you are new to exercise, are recovering from injury, or have a medical condition like an uncontrolled heart rate (known as arrhythmia), diabetes, or diabetes complications like retinopathy, per the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Read on to learn about seven potential health benefits of HIIT workouts.

1. HIIT Can Improve Your Fitness Level

Like other cardio activities, HIIT can boost overall fitness. However, it offers unique benefits that can’t be matched by steady-state cardio workouts.

Consider the findings of a landmark study published in 1996 that found HIIT workouts improved cardiorespiratory fitness markers like anaerobic capacity and VO2 max. Anaerobic capacity is the maximum amount of energy a person can generate without oxygen to sustain high-intensity exercise, as defined in another review. If you can produce a lot of energy without oxygen, you’ll be able to lift heavier weights, do more repetitions, and go faster during high-intensity efforts. VO2 max, or maximal oxygen consumption, is the maximum amount of oxygen a person can utilize during intense exercise, with higher VO2 max typically being linked to improved performance, per the University of Virginia.


But HIIT may have the advantage over other workouts, as BDNF levels increase with exercise intensity, research finds. Because BDNF helps create new brain cells and sustain existing ones, producing more of this molecule may improve cognitive skills like thinking, memory, and multitasking, says Carlsbad, California–based Pete McCall, CSCS, an American Council on Exercise–certified personal trainer, the national director of fitness education for EoS Fitness gyms, and the author of Ageless Intensity: High-Intensity Workouts to Slow the Aging Process.


Read the full article here.

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