We all know how important exercise is for health, but often we lack time to exercise enough . However, new research suggests that a form of high-intensity interval training (HIIT), consisting of short but intense workouts, offers similar health benefits to the usual longer sports sessions. It is a good idea to consult with your doctor first, especially with such a training program.

According to World Health Organization (WHO) health guidelines, adults should exercise at moderate intensity for 150 to 300 minutes a week or 75 to 150 minutes a week at high intensity. For many of us, however, this is an almost unattainable goal due to family or work obligations. Low volume HIIT can be an ideal alternative, according to a Canadian-Australian review study, which analyzed research done on this form of training over the past decade.

Less than 20 minutes

At low volume HIIT, a training session does not last more than 20 minutes in total, with the time for warming, recovery periods and cooling-off included. Per session you actually do intensive movement between 4 and 15 minutes, for example sprints or jumping exercises. According to the new analysis, the health benefits of about 20 minutes of low volume HIIT per week are similar to those of the traditional methods recommended by the WHO – and sometimes even greater.

Specifically, low volume HIIT seems to be excellent for the functioning of the heart, blood pressure, artery health and the stability of your blood sugar level. It would also prevent fatty liver disease and promote the cardiorespiratory condition, thus boosting the ability of the heart and lungs to pump blood and oxygen through the body. One particular study suggests that HIIT may offer specific benefits to people with type 2 diabetes.

Guidance by training expert

Further research is needed to explain how exactly low volume HIIT can have such a positive impact on health. It also remains to be seen to what extent this form of training is effective in the long term and whether it is not even better to combine them with longer, more traditional training methods. In any case, the scientists recommend that they be accompanied by a training expert at low volume HIIT and speak to your doctor before starting. This way you can minimize the risk of injuries and other health damage.

Arthur Marquis

With a background in dermatology and over 10 years of experience, Arthur covers a wide range of health-related subjects for the Scientific Origin.