High intensity workouts aren’t sustainable, warns expert

High intensity interval training (HIIT) has soared in popularity in recent years thanks to its convenience; however one expert has warned that it isn’t a sustainable way of exercising for most people.

A HIIT workout consists of short bursts of intense exercise with rest periods in between, typically lasting no longer than 30 minutes.

Dr Panteleimon Ekkekakis, a professor who specialises in how the body responds to exercise, has told the Mail Online that these kind of workouts may actually discourage people from exercising in the long term due to their unpleasantness.

HIIT is renowned for its difficulty given the types of exercises required to reach the desired level of intensity: think burpees, press ups and squat jumps (ouch).

Ekkekakis, who teaches kinesiology at Iowa State University, believes that “there’s a price to pay” when it comes to HIIT, explaining that the intensity levels make the workout very off-putting and can dissuade people from sustaining a regular exercise regime in the long run.

“The message of ‘squeezing it in’ perpetuates the idea that exercise is a chore,” said Ekkekakis.

“We want to break down the association of exercise as punishment, as something unpleasant, something to tolerate or a bitter pill you have to swallow.”

He advises changing our perception that exercise needs to be punishing by integrating it into our daily lives, whether that’s taking a bike ride with your family or going for a long walk with your dog.

Though more time-consuming and less aerobic, he believes that a more lax approach to exercise in general could be beneficial to those who struggle to think of working out as pleasant.

Ekkekakis’ advice come shortly after a public health enquiry revealed that 41 per cent of British adults aged 40 to 60 walk less than 10 minutes every day.


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