Anyone who has been paying attention to the physical fitness world will have seen the new trend of HIIT workouts hitting the market. HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training. A common question for those who have not participated in these workouts is whether or not HIIT is considered a cardio activity. This is important to note if you are trying to configure a good schedule with well-rounded exercises to work all areas of the body.
HIIT workouts mainly consist of alternating between short bursts of high intensity, and longer bursts of lower intensity. This model can be used for aerobic and anaerobic workouts which means it can be for cardio and non-cardio exercises. With the right exercises in the workout, HIIT is definitely a great cardio workout.
So, the answer is yes- HIIT workouts can be considered cardio workouts, but they are a different kind of cardio workout than you may have seen in the past. This article will describe how HIIT workouts are put together, so you can see how they fit into the cardio realm of the exercise world.
Alternating between High and Low Intensity Exercises
The main element of any good High Intensity Interval Training workout is the alternating between high and low intensity. The idea is to get your body working as hard as it possibly can for short bursts of time. A very simple example of this would be sprinting for 30 seconds, followed by walking for 60 seconds.
The alternation can occur for any cardio exercise, and will consist of short bouts of high intensity followed by slightly longer stretches of lower intensity workouts. The lower intensity sections give the body time to recover from the high intensity bursts without actually resting.
Motivation to Push Harder
One of the big reasons people are enjoying the HIIT workouts so much is because there is a built-in motivation to truly push to the full limits. Trying to work to your full capacity for long stretches of time can feel overwhelming and scary, and few people are willing to even try it. 30 seconds, however, feels much more doable.
This is a great way to play a mental trick on the body. People are working harder, reaching goals faster, and staying motivated, because they are not afraid to truly push themselves for those short bursts of high intensity.
Constant Calorie Burning
Another way the HIIT circuit training tends to trick the mind is by making the body feel like the majority of the workout is resting. That is not the case, as the low intensity sections still involve moving and working. However, since those low intensity sections feel so much easier than the high intensity sections, your mind feels like all the hard work in the lower intensity sections is actually a rest. This means you get calorie burning movement throughout the entire workout while feeling like you are resting most of the time.
Great for Groups
If you prefer to workout in larger groups or classes, then HIIT is a good avenue to pursue. These combinations work very well for large groups. Many gyms offer HIIT classes, and it can be a great way to meet new people while working towards your health goals.