10 Major Health Benefits of High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

If you're looking for a workout routine that can help you burn calories, lose weight, and build muscle, HIIT might be the perfect solution for you. But, that's not all HIIT can do for you! This popular fitness trend can also help lower your blood pressure and blood sugar levels, improve oxygen and blood flow, and even enhance brain health.

How does HIIT work? It's simple! You perform a series of high-intensity exercises in short intervals, followed by periods of rest. According to fitness expert Stephen Navaretta, HIIT gives your entire body a great workout, especially your heart and core.

Ready to reap the benefits of HIIT?

Check out these 10 amazing ways it can help improve your health:

1. Burn More Calories with HIIT Workouts

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a type of workout that alternates short periods of intense exercise with recovery periods. HIIT is a great way to increase your fitness level and burn more calories in less time. HIIT is effective because it increases your metabolism and burns more calories both during and after the workout.

Burn More Calories

During a HIIT workout, you burn about the same number of calories as you would during a steady-state cardio exercise like running. However, the real benefit of HIIT comes after the workout is over. When you do a steady-state exercise like running, your heart rate stays relatively stable. This means that you burn calories during the exercise, but your metabolism returns to normal soon after you finish.

In contrast, when you do a HIIT workout, your heart rate increases dramatically during the high-intensity intervals. This creates an "afterburn" effect, where your body continues to burn calories at a higher rate even after you finish the workout. This effect is called excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), and it can last for up to 24 hours after a HIIT workout.

A 2019 study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research confirmed that HIIT burns more calories after the workout than steady-state cardio. The study had a group of athletes perform a HIIT workout and a steady-state run at different times. Nine minutes after the exercises stopped, researchers found that the HIIT group was burning an average of 3 kilocalories per minute, compared to 2.8 kilocalories per minute in the steady-state group. This may not seem like a significant difference, but over time, it can add up to a significant increase in calorie burn.

2. HIIT is an Effective Way to Lose Weight

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a popular form of exercise that involves short bursts of intense activity followed by brief periods of rest. This type of workout has gained popularity in recent years because of its effectiveness in burning calories and helping individuals lose weight. HIIT workouts have been shown to be more convenient than other forms of exercise, as they require less time to complete and can be done without any special equipment.

Way to Lose Weight

A 2019 review of 77 scientific studies found that individuals who did HIIT workouts lost 28.5% more fat than those who engaged in moderately intense continuous exercise, like running. This is due to the fact that HIIT burns more calories because of Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC). EPOC refers to the increased rate of oxygen intake that occurs after exercise, which helps to burn more calories and fat.

Moreover, with HIIT, your heart rate stays elevated throughout the entire workout, which is optimal for burning calories and fat. This makes HIIT an effective option for individuals who are looking to lose weight. According to Navaretta, a fitness expert,

HIIT is an effective option for weight loss.

3. HIIT for Building Multiple Muscle Groups

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is a workout routine that offers many benefits, including building multiple muscle groups simultaneously. A typical HIIT workout involves various movements that target different muscle groups, such as squats, push-ups, and burpees. The intensity of HIIT workouts also helps in building muscles and improving their endurance.

One of the main benefits of HIIT is that it allows you to work out different muscle groups during the same workout. By incorporating different exercises, you can target multiple muscles, making your workout more efficient. This means that you can achieve your fitness goals in less time compared to traditional workouts that only focus on one muscle group at a time.

Muscle Groups

Moreover, the intensity of HIIT workouts is also beneficial in building muscles. During HIIT, your muscles are constantly engaged, and they do not get much rest, leading to increased muscular endurance. According to fitness expert Navaretta, this type of training can boost muscular endurance significantly.

Several studies support the idea that HIIT can improve muscle power and endurance. For instance, a study conducted in 2017 found that a six-week HIIT program improved muscle power in men. The men's average absolute peak power output (PPO) increased from 799 watts to 865 watts, an 8% increase. This shows that HIIT is an effective way to build muscles and improve their strength.

Another study conducted in 2017 compared the effects of a 12-minute HIIT workout and a 40-minute aerobic workout on overweight female teens. The study found that the HIIT workout affected the muscles more than the longer aerobic workout. The researchers measured the levels of irisin, a hormone released by the muscles in response to exercise, and found that the HIIT workout resulted in higher irisin levels. This suggests that HIIT can stimulate muscle growth and improve overall fitness levels.

4. HIIT Workouts Can Improve Cardiovascular Health

Regular exercise is important for maintaining good health, and research has shown that high-intensity interval training (HIIT) can be especially effective in improving cardiovascular health. The circulatory system plays a crucial role in delivering oxygen and nutrients to the muscles, and the heart is responsible for pumping blood throughout the body. HIIT workouts have been found to support and even strengthen the circulatory system, making them a valuable addition to any fitness routine.

A 2017 study conducted on 26 school children split them into two groups: One group did HIIT training, while the other group followed a more traditional exercise routine. The study lasted for seven weeks, during which the HIIT group demonstrated a greater improvement in their cardiorespiratory capacity than the traditional exercise group. This means that their heart and lungs became more efficient at delivering oxygen to the body. Additionally, the HIIT group also lost more fat than the other group.

Improve Cardiovascular Health

Another study conducted in 2020 found that just one HIIT session can improve blood flow to the brain. The study suggests that HIIT can be a time-efficient alternative to longer-duration lower-intensity exercises, offering similar vascular benefits.

Heart disease accounts for one-quarter of deaths in the US, making it crucial to take care of cardiovascular health. By improving the circulatory system and strengthening the heart, HIIT workouts can help reduce the risk of heart disease. Therefore, incorporating HIIT workouts into a regular exercise routine can be a smart investment in one's overall health and well-being.

5. HIIT Can Help Lower Blood Pressure

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a type of workout that alternates between periods of high-intensity exercise and short periods of rest. HIIT workouts have gained popularity in recent years due to their effectiveness in burning calories and improving cardiovascular health. One of the lesser-known benefits of HIIT is its ability to help lower blood pressure, a significant risk factor for heart disease.

Lower Blood Pressure

A 2017 study conducted on men between the ages of 56 to 67 found that performing HIIT workouts five days a week for six weeks resulted in an average reduction of 5.5 mm/HG in blood pressure. The study participants engaged in a variety of exercises, including cycling, running, and rowing, for short periods of high-intensity activity followed by brief recovery periods.

In addition to the long-term benefits of HIIT workouts, research has also shown that a single session of HIIT can result in a more immediate reduction in blood pressure than a session of steady-state cardio. This means that individuals can benefit from reduced blood pressure levels even after just one HIIT session.

Overall, HIIT workouts have proven to be an effective way to reduce blood pressure levels and improve cardiovascular health. By incorporating HIIT into their exercise routine, individuals can potentially lower their risk of heart disease and improve their overall health and well-being.

6. HIIT Training Can Help Lowering Blood Sugar Levels

HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) has been found to be beneficial in controlling blood sugar levels, particularly for individuals with diabetes. A study conducted in 2015 discovered that after eight weeks of HIIT training, individuals with type 2 diabetes experienced an improvement in their insulin levels and pancreatic function. This is due to the nature of HIIT, which involves brief, intense bursts of activity followed by short rest periods, causing the body to use glucose for energy, thus lowering blood sugar levels.

Lowering Blood Sugar Levels

Moreover, a scientific review conducted in 2015 analyzed various studies where participants engaged in HIIT training for less than two weeks. The review concluded that HIIT training was effective in helping people with and without diabetes better manage their blood sugar levels than continuous-state workouts. This means that even a short period of HIIT training can provide significant benefits for individuals struggling to control their blood sugar levels.

In summary, HIIT training has been shown to be an effective way to help lower blood sugar levels, particularly for individuals with diabetes. Its ability to improve insulin levels and pancreatic function, as well as its capacity to better regulate blood sugar levels than continuous-state workouts, makes it a promising option for those seeking to manage their blood sugar levels.

7. HIIT Boosts Metabolism and Promotes Calorie Burn

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a form of exercise that involves short bursts of intense activity followed by brief recovery periods. HIIT has become increasingly popular because it is an efficient way to burn fat and carbohydrates in a short amount of time. Not only does HIIT burn calories during the workout, but it can also boost metabolism post-workout.

Boosts Metabolism and Promotes Calorie Burn

One of the benefits of HIIT is that it increases resting energy expenditure (REE). REE is the amount of energy your body expends when you are at rest. After a HIIT workout, your body continues to burn calories at an elevated rate for up to 24 hours, which means you are burning more calories even when you are not exercising. This is known as the afterburn effect or excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC).

Research has shown that HIIT can stimulate the production of certain hormones, such as adrenaline and growth hormone, which help to increase metabolism and promote fat loss. HIIT also improves insulin sensitivity, which means your body can use carbohydrates more effectively for energy and store less fat.

8. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) Can Enhance Sleep Quality

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a popular form of exercise that involves brief periods of intense exercise alternated with low-intensity recovery periods. Apart from its well-known benefits on cardiovascular health, recent research suggests that consistent HIIT workouts can also improve sleep quality.

Enhance Sleep Quality

According to a 2021 review published in the journal Sleep Medicine Reviews, performing HIIT sessions of any type for more than 16 minutes per session for at least eight weeks can significantly improve sleep quality in adults. The review analyzed 21 studies involving 510 participants and found that HIIT not only reduced the time it took for participants to fall asleep but also increased the total amount of time they spent sleeping.

In addition, the review also noted that individuals who did HIIT workouts at least three times a week were more likely to spend less time awake while in bed compared to those who did not exercise or did other forms of exercise.

The association between exercise and sleep has been widely established, with research suggesting that regular physical activity can improve sleep quality and reduce the risk of sleep disorders. Exercise is thought to increase the production of hormones like melatonin, which regulates the sleep-wake cycle, and decrease stress and anxiety, which are known to interfere with sleep.

Overall, sleep quality has numerous effects on general health, including improving memory, regulating mood, and aiding in weight loss. Therefore, incorporating HIIT workouts into your routine could not only enhance your physical fitness but also lead to better sleep and overall health.

9. HIIT May Improve Mental Health

It is no secret that regular exercise is beneficial for one's mental health. Exercise has been linked to better mental well-being and the ability to alleviate specific illnesses, such as depression. However, incorporating high-intensity interval training (HIIT) into your workout routine could provide additional benefits.

Improve Mental Health

According to a 2020 review, HIIT has been shown to alleviate depression and could potentially be helpful for individuals with other mental illnesses, including schizophrenia-spectrum disorders. This type of workout may be particularly effective for those who have struggled with traditional exercise methods or who have difficulty finding motivation.

A 2019 meta-analysis of studies and randomized trials focused on individuals with severe mental illness found that HIIT was more effective than moderate intensity continuous training (MCT) in improving depression. MCT involves prolonged aerobic exercises, such as jogging or swimming.

A more recent 2022 review of randomized clinical trials explored the effect of HIIT on mental health in the general population, including those who are physically ill. Researchers found that HIIT "led to moderate improvements" in well-being, severity of depression, and perceived stress. This indicates that HIIT could be a viable option for individuals looking to improve their mental health, regardless of their physical health status.

10. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) Could Help Improve Memory

Exercise is not only beneficial for physical health, but it also has positive effects on brain health, including improving memory and cognitive function. Studies have found that people who regularly exercise have larger brain regions that are responsible for thinking and memory. However, recent research suggests that incorporating high-intensity intervals into workouts may be even more beneficial for brain health.

Help Improve Memory

In a small 2020 study, older sedentary adults were assigned to either do HIIT, moderate continuous training (MCT), or stretching to see how it affected their cognition. The results showed that HIIT had the greatest effect on participants' memory performance. This indicates that the high-intensity intervals used in HIIT may have a unique benefit for cognitive function.

Another study published in 2019 found that interval exercise, like HIIT, increased blood flow in the brain. This is significant because less cerebral blood flow is associated with cognitive decline and dementia. By increasing blood flow to the brain, HIIT may help to maintain brain health and reduce the risk of cognitive decline.


In conclusion, HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) offers numerous benefits to improve your health, including burning more calories, losing weight, building multiple muscle groups, improving cardiovascular health, and reducing blood sugar levels. HIIT is a great workout option for individuals who have limited time for exercise but want to achieve maximum benefits in a short amount of time. With the increasing popularity of HIIT, it's easy to find a workout routine that suits your fitness level and goals. Incorporating HIIT into your workout routine can improve your overall health and wellbeing, so give it a try today!

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