High-intensity training can be part of a menu of activity options for average people, one study claims.
Adherence to high intensity training routines (HIIT) has been growing for years. In parallel, there are heated debates about whether it is a type of exercise that the average person can do. Now, a study by the University of British Columbia (UBC, for its acronym in English), Canada, gets into that controversy: its authors conclude that, when practiced appropriately, it is a style that can fit within a flexible training options menu.
“The physiological benefits of HIIT or SIT (speed interval training) are well established,” says Matthew Stork, a postdoctoral fellow in the UBC College of Health and Exercise Sciences and lead author of the study. “What has been difficult to pin down is whether interval-based exercise should be promoted in public health strategies. If so, how can we help people, especially those who are less physically active, to do that kind of thing? exercise regularly in the long term? “, asks the researcher of the article published in the journal Psychology of Sport and Exercise.
Stork describes interval exercise as high intensity repeated short efforts that are separated by periods of rest or recovery of low intensity and that generally last between 20 and 25 minutes or less. HIIT generally consists of episodes performed at around 80-90% of a person’s maximum heart rate. SIT, meanwhile, implies shorter episodes of activity, but with an even greater maximum intensity.
“While SIT can be attractive to those who feel particularly short on time, it can be quite unpleasant for those who are not used to exercising at maximum intensity,” explains the researcher. And that’s why there is a debate among scientists dedicated to studying exercise.
While all styles of training have health benefits, critics of interval exercise argue that it is not a sustainable public health strategy: its high intensities can threaten adherence to this type of long-term training.
“As you might expect, people tolerate different exercise programs differently,” says Stork. “That makes it difficult to establish the best exercise program for the average person. There is little research to break down the experiences and perceptions of HIIT and SIT compared to traditional continuous exercise, in the way that we have done in this study.” , he assures. The work was funded by the North American Society for Sports and Physical Activity Psychology.
Stork and his team interviewed 30 inactive adults (18 men and 12 women) before and after they participated in different types of continuous and interval exercise. in a controlled laboratory environment and at your leisure.
Participants discussed the advantages and disadvantages of interval exercise vs. traditional exercise, the appeal of HIIT or SIT as a project versus actually doing it, and creative ways to adapt interval exercise when exercising on your own.
According to the researcher, the factors that influence adherence to traditional or interval training are much more complex than what has been collected so far through research, but considers there is room to include HIIT and SIT in exercise plans For the general public.
“I think a lot of people assume that they need to do as much as possible under one form of exercise: if they are ‘HIIT people’, they feel like they have to do HIIT all the time,” he says. “But what I’m seeing is that different forms of exercise can be used interchangeably and that people should be physically active with a flexible menu of options. “
And he gives as an example the mother or father of a little boy. “Maybe one day I’ll just have 20 minutes to do a HIIT session while your child takes a nap, but prefers an hour-long walk the next day to relieve the stress of work. As long as you get a little exercise, you should feel empowered to choose a program that suits your needs at that particular time and situation, “he stresses.
The next stage of the research will focus on determining what tools and resources can be used to help people incorporate HIIT or SIT.
“If we can provide more guidance on how people can adapt interval exercise to meet their own fitness levels and needs, it is more likely that really enjoy it and stay motivated. I strongly believe in the benefits of regular physical activity, and the more barriers we can remove, the better, “he concluded.