My last post dealt with the critical role of exercise in maintaining bodily function. At the IDEA World Fitness Convention, we learned more about the tremendous benefit of high intensity interval training (HIIT) as part of a well designed plan. An example of HIIT is the “sprint 8” workout. It consists of a 4 minute warm-up followed by a 30 second all out sprint and a 90 second rest which is walking or a very slow jog. This sprint/rest sequence is repeated x 8. I have done this workout running outside or on a treadmill, as well as, on a bike, an elliptical machine and even in a pool. The entire workout takes 20 minutes. Professor of exercise science, Len Kravitz, gave a fabulous lecture on the topic. He gave insights into the history of HIIT in the training of world class athletes. He also discussed it’s impact on fat burning, cardiovascular fitness and hormonal regulation. Especially interesting was the discussion of HIIT’s effect on insulin resistance. At VitalSigns, we take particular interest in the reversal of metabolic syndrome (pre-diabetes). Insulin resistance is at the root of metabolic syndrome leading to glucose intolerance and eventually diabetes. Since a lack of time is one of the most common reasons given for lack of exercise, it makes sense to have very brief but effective workouts in the toolbox. Recent evidence has also shown that HIIT with it’s endless variety is often perceived to be more enjoyable than moderate intensity continuous exercise. As I said, the science behind HIIT’s role in fat burning and reversing insulin resistance was fascinating and my next post will go over some of that!