High-intensity interval training (HIIT) represents a fitness strategy that incorporates short, intense bouts of exercises with brief recovery periods to improve overall health-related outcomes in adult populations.
There is minimal equipment required in such programmes which often consist of exercises that vary in intensity and enhance both aerobic and anaerobic fitness levels; the Nord-Trøndelag Health Study established that a single bout of HIIT weekly can reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases in men and women.
While reviewing the physiological and psychological responses to HIIT, Kipatrick et al. described two general categories – aerobic HIIT which often involves running and cycling activities; and bodyweight/resistance HIIT which makes use of calisthenics, plyometrics and lifts in programmes such as Tabata and CrossFit.
The authors attribute the numerous beneficial effects of such programmes, particularly aerobic HIIT, to the training time spent at or near maximal oxygen consumption (VO2 Max), a high degree of muscle fibre recruitment, and other related cardiovascular and cellular signaling pathways.
Milanović et al. evaluated the effectiveness of HIIT and continuous endurance training on VO2 Max by conducting a review and meta-analysis of controlled trials; inclusion criteria comprised of controlled trials of healthy adults aged 18-45 years following a training period of more than 2 weeks.
Based on the findings, the study confirmed that endurance training and HIIT both elicit large improvements in the VO2 Max of healthy, young to middle-aged adults. But the gains in VO2 Max were found to be greater following HIIT than endurance training.
With significant improvements reported in cardiorespiratory fitness and body composition, Costigan et al. determined that HIIT can be considered as a feasible and time-efficient approach to boost fitness levels in the adolescent population as well.
The authors recommend implementing HIIT programmes in schools, as an effort to improve overall fitness capacity. This can also protect young adults from developing serious mental issues ranging from depression to low self-esteem.
A Swedish longitudinal study supports this fact, having established that lower cardiorespiratory fitness at age 18 increases the risk of severe depression in adulthood.
HIIT can be utilised in the prevention and management of conditions such as diabetes and other related diseases; considerable depletion of muscle glucose after these type of exercises leads to improvements in insulin sensitivity and glucose control.
This can be particularly useful as part of a comprehensive treatment programme for the pre-diabetic population or patients who are at risk for type 2 diabetes mellitus.
It is also essential to consider biomechanical imbalances such as flat feet which compound mechanical stresses by causing an uneven distribution of pressure across the feet, increasing the risk of inflammation in diabetic patients.
A healthy foot posture can help an individual obtain maximum benefits from a HITT programme because of the lack of excessive stress on the joints which can result from abnormal movement patterns of the foot such as hyperpronation.
MASS4D® custom foot orthotics help support the feet in their optimal posture to eliminate any functional anomalies in the lower limbs which can adversely affect high-impact performance during HIIT and increase the risk of injury.
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