Public health guidelines recommend 30 minutes of daily exercise of moderate intensity, but with new social distancing rules, some are finding that harder to obtain than usual. With online exercise classes, it is definitely possible to get some exercise in right in your home. When it comes to HIIT workouts, or High-Intensity Interval Training, the 7-minute workout might be your cup of tea. But if there is anything that the Coronavirus pandemic has given most us, it’s more time to try new things.
So instead of the 7-minute workout, you might be able to fit the 23-minute workout into your routine. Research shows that one 23-minute HIIT session per week has the ability to boost your aerobic capacity, lower your blood pressure, and lower your body fat.
The most interesting part of the study is that one session per week is nearly as effective as three 23-minute sessions per week.
One 23-minute session is nearly as effective as three sessions per week
This study, which was published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, aimed to analyze HIIT exercise programs in a real-world environment instead of a laboratory setting. In this study of 250 overweight and obese adults, the researchers created four groups. One group performed a HIIT workout three times a week, while another did one HIIT workout per week, the third did three moderate-intensity workouts per week, and the last group did nothing as a control.
An analysis of the results found that both of the HIIT workout groups lost more body fat than the other two groups. Additionally, the group that worked out only one time per week lost nearly as much weight as the group that worked out three times per week, and also saw similar aerobic and blood pressure benefits.
This only works if your workout is truly a HIIT workout
The research shows that you will only see these results if you honestly participate in a HIIT workout, which means you give as much effort as you can for a short period of time, then you rest for enough time for your body to recover, and then you return to maximum effort. HIIT workouts go beyond what makes you feel comfortable.
For example, a HIIT exercise for a runner could look like this: sprinting for 30 seconds, jogging for 30 seconds, sprinting for another 30 seconds, etc.
A light jog or spin on the electrical bike for 23 minutes will not provide the same health benefits as a 23-minute HIIT workout.
While HIIT workouts certainly are not as much fun as others, you do see rewards such as saving time, and seeing the health benefits listed above from just one workout per week.
Participants in this study reported doing HIIT workouts in a variety of ways, including using hills, stairs, running, exercise equipment such as bikes, elliptical trainers, and rowing machines, as well as home-based circuit-type exercises such as burpees and star jumps. Some participants reported taking part in commercial gym, online or app-based HIIT workouts. Others said they took participated in high-intensity sport-based training such as futsal or squash. All of these activities produced exercise of adequate intensity, which is 80% or greater heart rate peak (HRpeak).
You can use this video as an example for what a 23-minute HIIT workout looks like: