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Getting started with high intensity interval training (HIIT)

Published in Weight Management, For the Health of It Author: Alyssa Monson, Registered Dietitian

CentraCare Weight Management

HIIT seems to be everywhere right now. It’s is a type of training which incorporates short bursts or intervals of high intensity and periods of recovery (lower intensity). Some also may include a steady state (medium intensity) to keep you moving between the high intensity intervals and recovery periods.

The benefits of HIIT include increase in cardiovascular fitness and improved blood vessel function and other markers of blood vessel health. It also may lower insulin resistance and decrease fasting blood glucose.

As with any new fitness regimen, talk with your health care provider before starting or haven’t done it before.

For overall health benefit, pair HIIT with a regular resistance training routine and other steady state cardiovascular activities.

Getting started

Walking is a great way to get started with HIIT. Check out this example below.

  • Warmup (3 minutes): Walk at an easy, comfortable pace
  • Interval set (complete 3-5 reps):
    • Steady state (3 minutes): Walk quickly enough that your breathing is quickened, but you can still talk easily.
    • High-intensity interval (1 minute): Walk as quickly as you can. At this pace your breathing will be quick and labored; talking is difficult.
    • Recovery (1 minute): Walk at a comfortable pace and focus on catching your breath.
  • Cooldown (2 minutes): Continue to walk at an easy, comfortable pace. Feel free to add in a few of your favorite stretches during this time if you desire.

Learn more about HIIT.