Most people with a little background in human biology know that their heart is a muscle. But it’s not just a muscle, it’s the muscle. The one muscle you absolutely cannot live without.
Much like any other muscle in your body, to keep it strong and healthy you have to exercise it. In fact, the American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous cardiovascular activity per week.
AKA that dreaded 6-letter word “cardio” which conjures up thoughts of tiring and boring jogs on the treadmill.
We’ve got good news for you.
First, even though that might seem like a lot, when spread out over the course of a week like recommended, it comes to just over 20 minutes per day.
Second, you don’t have to go for a run to partake in cardiovascular exercise. In fact, according to professionals, moderate-intensity exercise is any activity that gets your “heart rate up to 50-60 percent higher than its rate when you are at rest.”
This means you could literally do any physical activity as long as you meet the increased heart rate threshold.
With that being said, we realize there are people out there who want to increase their cardiovascular endurance beyond minimum levels, but still hate the thought of jogging.
If that’s you, keep reading. We have even more good news for you.
You don’t have to run or get on the elliptical or the rower or the stair climber or even the stationary bike.
Yes, you read that right. You don’t have to do any one of those exercises. Instead you could keep things interesting and fun by participating in a HIIT workout.
In fact, research studies have shown that HIIT workouts are “equal to or slightly better than [traditional] cardio for improving overall health and fitness”.
So, what is HIIT?
HIIT, or High Intensity Interval Training, is a workout regimen that combines several exercises such as mountain climbers, jump roping, burpees, lunges, planking and more into a short, 20-30 minute workout. Click here to check out this sample HIIT workout.
As the name suggests, these training programs are designed to be high intensity (80-90% of your maximum heart rate) and the exercises are to be completed in timed intervals with short breaks in between.
Keep reading to learn the 6 tips to make sure you experience the most success and cardiovascular benefits from your HIIT workout.
If you are new to HIIT training, we recommend you ease into your workouts. Yes, it is supposed to be high intensity and you are supposed to push yourself, but you need to do it in a reasonable manner. Don’t go 110%. You do not want to hurt yourself.
Always Warm Up and Cool Down
Jumping immediately into a HIIT workout or stopping it immediately can be harmful for your body. You should warm up and cool down your body for 5 minutes before and after your HIIT workout. A good warm up/cool down could include a brisk walk on the treadmill and stretching session.
Don’t Overdo It
The whole point of a HIIT workout routine is to maximize exercise efficiency while minimizing workout time. As mentioned earlier, a good HIIT workout should be about 20-30 minutes in length. While going longer may help in the short term, you run the risk of an overuse injury. In addition, it is recommended that you only do a HIIT workout up to 3 times a week.
Go Hard or Go Home
Because HIIT is designed to be a short, high intensity workout, for the program to work you need to make sure you are staying consistently at 80-90% of your max heart rate. To find out what your max heart rate should be, click here.
Take a Break
A key term in HIIT is “interval”. To effectively do a HIIT workout you need to make sure you balance your high and low intensity intervals. If you don’t let your heart rate lower enough in your ‘rest’ period you will simply be doing a high intensity cardio session.
Invest in a SmartCells Training and Therapy Mat
SmartCells Training and Therapy products are specially designed to reduce impact stress on joints by up to 90% while at the same providing a safe, stable surface for HIIT workouts.
Available in three different colors (Black, Light Brown, and Grey) as well as three different sizes (36”X60”, 52”X60”, 52”X88”), the remarkable SmartCells Training and Therapy mats are low profile (1/2”) and have molded-in beveled edges to reduce tripping hazards. For custom applications, SATECH offers custom-sized mats as well as a wall-to-wall flooring option that is perfect for in-home gyms, and HIIT workout spaces.
How They Work
The unique SmartCells are spring-like, in that they provide a stable, supportive surface like a non-compressed spring, cushion as weight is applied, then rebound when the weight shifts, which returns energy and reduces fatigue and pain from your HIIT workout.
SmartCells: Solutions to Life’s Painful Problems.