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- On Monday, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released new guidelines for physical activity.
- HHS specifically called out high-intensity interval training, or HIIT, as a beneficial form of exercise.
- HIIT workouts are done in short periods of time and can help build muscle, increase endurance, and boost metabolism, according to the American Council on Exercise.
On Monday, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released new guidelines for physical activity. The most notable change was the recommendation to exercise in smaller, more frequent time periods – and the HHS even noted a specific type of workout helpful for achieving that recommendation.
In its detailed scientific report, HHS suggested high-intensity interval training, or HIIT for short. HIIT has become more and more popular over the years due to its effectiveness and time-saving nature, since you choose a series of exercises to perform in short bursts with small bits of rest in between.
HIIT workouts “can provide similar or greater benefits in less time than traditional longer, moderate-intensity workouts,” Chris Jordan, an exercise scientist, told Business Insider in April. What’s more, a 2013 review of studies in the International Journal of Cardiology found that folks who did HIIT versus regular intensity workouts reaped the same benefits, in addition to better peak oxygen uptake, which is a measure of endurance.
After analyzing three former studies on HIIT, the HHS determined HIIT “can effectively improve cardiorespiratory fitness (increase VO2 max) in adults with varied body weight and health status.” This type of exercise can also help with insulin levels, blood pressure, and body composition, the report noted.
Unlike other fitness and health trends, HIIT has a low barrier to entry thanks to its flexibility, low cost, and small time commitment. According to the American Council on Exercise, HIIT workouts tend to last no longer than 30 minutes. You can also create and perform a HIIT workout virtually anywhere since you can mix and match a variety of bodyweight exercises to create a routine.
Complete this circuit three times with a 30-second rest between each round.
- Jumping Jacks: 20 reps or 40 reps
- Squat: 10 reps or 20 reps
- Incline push-up: 10 seconds or 20 seconds
- Plank: 30 seconds or 40 seconds
- Single-Leg Glute Bridge: 5 reps each leg or 10 reps each leg
The HHS hopes its 2018 physical activity recommendations will get more Americans up and active, especially because 80% of American adults and adolescents currently fail to meet the minimum physical activity recommendations set forth.
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