High Intensity Interval Training Benefits

Today, Longevity Exercise Physiology Drummoyne, EdgecliffMarrickvilleCastle HillRandwickPymbleKingsgrove, Neutral Bay, and Coburg, would like to highlight the importance of high intensity interval training (HIIT) for your health, performance, and the prevention of chronic diseases. 


High intensity interval training, also known as HIIT, has become one of the most popular trends in the fitness industry in recent years. But what is exactly is HIIT and how does it affect your health? 



HIIT is a type of interval based training in which short bursts of high intensity exercise are alternated with recovery periods of lower intensity. For example, completing 20sec running on the treadmill followed by 20sec rest, and repeating this pattern for several minutes. An easy indicator that the exercise is of high intensity, is if you are breathing heavy and it is becoming difficult to hold a conversation.

How does HIIT affect performance? 

High intensity interval training was first introduced in the 1950s to improve the performance of elite athletes in sports such as running, swimming and cycling. Now, it has been adapted to improve the fitness level of any individual and can be performed with multiple exercise modalities e.g. circuit classes and dancing. HIIT training can also be used within resistance training to improve strength, endurance and performance. 


“…HIIT can significantly increase aerobic fitness [1] and reduce risk factors for cardio-metabolic diseases [3].”


Evidence has shown that HIIT can significantly increase aerobic fitness (VO2max) and endurance.[1] This means your heart, lungs and muscles can use oxygen more effectively during exercise, which allows you to perform at a higher intensity for a longer distance or time e.g. run further and faster. Studies also show that HIIT improves your heart health by increasing blood vessel function and markers of blood vessel health.[2]


How does HIIT affect health? 

In studies, HIIT is often compared to moderate intensity training (MICT), which involves lower intensities, less rest and longer durations. HIIT provides similar benefits to other exercise formats by reducing risk factors for cardio-metabolic diseases, but does so in less time, as sessions can be as short as 10 minutes. [3]


The benefits of HIIT include: 
    • Improves aerobic fitness (VO2max) 
    • Reduces body fat percentage (particularly abdominal fat mass) and waist circumference
    • Reduces blood pressure 
    • Improves control of blood sugar levels – reduces insulin resistance and fasting blood glucose, which helps to prevent Type 2 Diabetes



A scientific review found that short term HIIT (<12 weeks) improves these cardio-metabolic risk factors, but larger improvements are seen with longer training periods (>12 weeks).[4]


How should you implement HIIT into your week? 

The Australian Physical Activity Guidelines recommend completing at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of high intensity aerobic exercise as well as strength training twice per week to stay healthy and prevent chronic disease. This recommendation is increased to 300 minutes when modest weight loss is the goal. 


Unfortunately, many adults struggle to met these guidelines with lack of time being a major barrier. As HIIT workouts can be completed in under 30 minutes, they are an effective option for people who struggle to find time to exercise. 



Due to the higher intensity achieved, it is advised to consult with an exercise professional if you are deconditioned, elderly, recovering from injury or have any medical conditions before starting a HIIT program. Furthermore, ensuring you have balance between aerobic, resistance and mobility training is key to improving health and performance. 


“…HIIT workouts are an effective option to improve health and fitness for people who struggle to find the time for exercise.”


For personalised guidance around HIIT and other forms of cardio training, call Longevity Exercise Physiology Drummoyne, EdgecliffMarrickvilleCastle HillRandwickPymbleKingsgrove, Neutral Bay, and Coburg, on 1300 964 002 and speak with an Exercise Physiologist! 


For more information about HIIT visit:




1. Atakan MM, Li Y, Koşar ŞN, Turnagöl HH, Yan X. Evidence-based effects of high-intensity interval training on exercise capacity and health: A review with historical perspective. International journal of environmental research and public health. 2021 Jul 5;18(13):7201.

2. Ramos JS, Dalleck LC, Tjonna AE, Beetham KS, Coombes JS (May 2015). The impact of high-intensity interval training versus moderate-intensity continuous training on vascular function: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Sports Med (Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis). 45 (5): 679–92. doi:10.1007/s40279-015-0321-zPMID 25771785S2CID 6918612.

3. Su L, Fu J, Sun S, Zhao G, Cheng W, Dou C, Quan M. Effects of HIIT and MICT on cardiovascular risk factors in adults with overweight and/or obesity: A meta-analysis. PLoS One. 2019 Jan 28;14(1):e0210644.

4. Batacan RB, Duncan MJ, Dalbo VJ, Tucker PS, Fenning AS. Effects of high-intensity interval training on cardiometabolic health: a systematic review and meta-analysis of intervention studies. British journal of sports medicine. 2017 Mar 1;51(6):494-503.

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