Healing through Health: The Benefits of HIIT

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by Claudia Prevete, Lifestyle Staff Writer

High intensity interval training, known more popularly as “HIIT,” is a workout method that combines short, intense bursts of exercise with periods of recovery. This technique emerged as a cult-favorite for fitness junkies with boot camp style group classes popping up around the country (Orangetheory is a popular franchise, and Madison’s own Kamps exhibited extreme success since opening this past fall). HIIT is definitely a way to physically change your body, with proven effectiveness in fat burning, speeding up your metabolism and building endurance. However, the benefits of this exercise-style to the mind cannot be ignored.

Many know the endorphin-releasing, happiness-inducing powers of exercise. Yet, according to a study published by the US National Library of Medicine National Institute of Health, HIIT improved levels of psychological well-being, psychological distress and perceived self-appearance. Additionally, it improved cognitive function, so not only can you feel better, but you just might perform better in other cognitive aspects of life as well! Another study cited that HIIT has a “higher perceived enjoyment after exercise,” meaning that you might walk away from your workout feeling better if you do a HIIT series than another kind of fitness regimen.

Though HIIT provides options for those who prefer class-styled workouts, those who are more comfortable in other settings should have no fear. With HIIT becoming so popular, a quick Pinterest search of “HIIT workouts” provides you with endless inspiration and instructions for how to interval train at home. For a method of exercise that will not only change the way you look and perform physically, but one that will also ignite positive mental changes, HIIT it!

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