Short Bouts of Intense Activity Benefits (HIIT)

Short bouts of intense activity (high-intensity interval training; HIIT) may have more benefits than hours of lower exertion.

The expectation of constant availability due to our 21st-century, technology-driven lifestyles can be exhausting. Throw in laundry, shopping and social obligations, and finding the time to exercise can seem impossible.

In fact, the single most common excuse for not exercising regularly is a perceived lack of time, said Glenn Gaesser, professor of exercise and wellness at Arizona State University’s College of Health Solutions.

He and ASU Assistant Professor Siddhartha Angadi have been working together for over a decade to research the effects of high-intensity interval training, or HIIT—characterized by short bursts of intense activity—on various health outcomes.

Experts have long agreed that adults should aim for roughly 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week. When the guidelines were first published in 2008, it was thought that in order to obtain meaningful health benefits, those 150 minutes had to be accrued in bouts of at least 30 minutes of activity at a time.

Credit: Arizona State University

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