Love boot-camp classes but in a time crunch? Good news: low-volume HIIT is just as effective. Less than 20 minutes of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) can reap just as many benefits as the traditional 30 minutes a day recommended by the surgeon general, according to new research published in the Journal of Physiology. “In many cases, the low-volume variations of HIIT provide comparable and, at times, superior improvements for a variety of health outcomes when compared to longer but lower-intensity aerobic training interventions,” says study author Angelo Sabag, Ph.D., of Western Sydney University in Australia.
Along with strong quads and a six-pack, perks of low-volume HIIT include a decrease in blood sugar levels and a stronger heart. “It improves the responsiveness of our muscles to insulin and allows us to better use blood glucose and fatty acids,” says Sabag. “HIIT also improves the heart’s ability to pump blood more effectively and circulate oxygen and nutrients to organs and muscles.”
Looking to give low-volume HIIT a try? Sabag suggests this favorite routine: 10 x 60 seconds running or cycling at 80-90 percent of max effort, with 60 seconds of active recovery (i.e. walking) at 30 to 50 percent effort between intervals. “If you are relatively untrained, start with five intervals and progressively increase the number until you can achieve 10 per session,” Sabag.
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