High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) has been gaining attention as an exercise regime. However, facts have emerged that caution its use – such as an increase in injuries. Is there a way to find an optimum where the benefits are realized without the downsides. I found that doing High Intensity Interval Yoga works for me.
HIIT has become popular in the last few years with the promise of fat burning and weight loss. However, because of the intense nature of the exercise program, it has been associated with an increase in injuries. For those who are beginning and overweight the program can be overwhelming to their bodies.
Issues arise when practitioners over do it. Training too often, too long, not warming up can limit the gains promised by HIIT. As often observed, enthusiasm at the start of a training program can be the biggest deterrent from continuing. Being sore and exhausted will dampen any drive towards a fitness goal.
Yet, evidence is still growing that HIIT can be beneficial. For example, if done properly, four weeks of HIIT improves fitness performance, and moderates the systemic inflammatory and oxidative stress responses in sedentary men and women. This means it can increase fitness while keeping you young.
In addition, choosing to do HIIT can reduce the desire for food intake after exercise. This is observed especially in the junk food category. Therefore, performing HIIT also has an effect on your desire for food and can promote weight loss by having you eat less.
So how does one get the benefits of HIIT without risking the injuries? I have been experimenting with High Intensity Interval Yoga (HIIY) in my personal practice. The results have been promising as a means of achieving this balance.
For many years now I have been teaching yoga using weights in an isometric and dynamic fashion. My usual teaching involves a warm-up, a weight-intense session and then stretching. Stretching following a weight bearing exercise has been found to increase muscle build-up.
The HIIY method I have been working with is a variation of this, taking advantage of the HIIT philosophy. I start with a warm-up. Then I move into intense yoga moves with weights. This is followed by stretching as an interval. This sequence of intensity and stretching continues for thirty minutes. A final stretching sequence is used to calm things down.
I am finding that using HIIY may be the best of all worlds in being an overall beneficial exercise program that minimizes injuries while increasing strength and flexibility. It does require a personalized approach to ensure that the right intensity of exercise and stretching is started with the beginner and progress is monitored.