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HIT me: How to get a week's worth of exercise in two sessions
May 20, 2014

trackA lot of people talk about walking for 30 minutes every day or running four or five times a week. There’s a lot of info out there that suggests hitting the gym for an hour will do you a world of good.

But what if you just can’t make that happen? For whatever reason, you don’t have the time or you don’t live in an area where a 30 minute walk or run is all that doable. (We’re not sure where that is, but we’re sure it exists.)

Have you heard of high-intensity interval training? You probably know it by another name: sprints. The idea is to work out harder for a shorter amount of time rather than pacing yourself for long distance, and some researchers at the University of Abertay Dundee have found that has great benefits for preventing diseases like diabetes and heart disease.

Dr. John Babraj, who heads the research team at Abertay Dundee, told Medical XPress, “We found that not only does HIT reduce the risk of them developing the disease, but also that the regime needs to be performed only twice a week in order for them to reap the benefits. And you don't have to be able to go at the speed of Usain Bolt when you're sprinting. As long as you are putting your maximal effort into the sprints, it will improve your health.”

Babraj suggests that so few people get to do the amount of exercise recommended by doctors, that perhaps high-intensity training might be better suited for them. It’s not designed to be easier, because it’s called “high-intensity” for a reason. That also means there can be dangers.

According to PaleoLeap, because you are forcing yourself to work harder doesn’t mean you should be hurting yourself. In their article, PaleoLeap describes not only what you need to be aware of when choosing to embrace HIT but also how to avoid injury and how you should change your diet:

  • “More is not better.”
  • “Carbohydrates are not optional.”
  • “Pay attention to injuries.”

Your workout need not even be just running sprints. Some phone apps have HIT workouts that incorporate jumping jacks, planks, pushups and more. Some gyms offer HIT classes, allowing you to train under the watchful eye of a professional. If you have a gym membership, see what they offer or speak to a trainer if you’re interested in learning more. And as always, if you already have diabetes, you should speak with your doctor before beginning any kind of new exercise plan.

You might not end up an Olympic sprinter, but the benefits of incorporating high-intensity workouts into your exercise regimen might make you feel like one.

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