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8 Amazing Benefits to Gain from High Intensity Interval Training

High intensity interval training, otherwise known as HIIT, has recently been making ways in the fitness community. However, this is a form of training that has long been used by serious athletes. With its short periods of intense anaerobic exercise and slightly lower intensity recovery periods, HIIT boasts one major benefit of burning fat faster, but that’s not the only thing it’s good for.

What Exactly Is HIIT?

High-intensity interval training is a term used to describe any workout that alternates between short, intense bursts of activity and brief periods of lower-intensity activity or even complete rest. For example, a very basic routine might include sprinting in place for 1 minute and then walking briskly for 2 minutes. The interval would then be repeated 5 times to comprise a 15-minute, fat-burning workout.

What Are the Benefits?
Although it might sound a little too good to be true, the science doesn’t lie. And plenty of research has been done to support the benefits of this type of fast-paced, fat-burning workout. In fact, HIIT offers these eight proven benefits as well as many more.

1. Greater Calorie Burn
One of the biggest benefits of high intensity interval training is that it helps you burn more calories – during and after your workout. The short, extreme bursts of activity increase the overall calorie burn during your workout, which improves your body composition. However, even beyond that, your body will continue burning calories for roughly two hours after exercise. “As your body works on returning to a homeostatic state after the exercise, you’ll burn more calories after HIIT than you would with continuous exercise,” said Orangetheory Fitness.

2. Better Retention
Most people find HIIT workouts much more enjoyable than longer, lower-intensity steady-state exercise. So not only are you likely to enjoy your workout more, but you’re also more likely to stick with it and keep up the exercise habit with HIIT. There’s just something about actually liking a workout that makes us all more likely to do it.

3. Improved Endurance
One study showed that even one minute of high intensity work in an otherwise not-as-difficult workout can benefit your endurance and overall health. The study considered measures like improved blood pressure and increased counts of mitochondria, which serve to fuel your brain and body. The benefit from HIIT is carried into everyday activities as well as more moderate-intensity activities, such as runs, rides, and other workouts, which is why interval training is such an effective training option for athletes.

4. Increase Oxygen Volume
It may not seem like a single workout could have that much of an impact, but if it’s HIIT, it does. In fact, with just one workout, individuals have been shown to increase oxygen volume capacity, also known as VO2 max. Likewise, with regular interval training, you can reduce your body and fat mass and improve your body’s glycemic control. In just one session, it can even lower blood glucose levels, particularly in diabetic individuals.

5. Reduced Time
Time is at a premium for everyone, so why not make the most of your workout and reduce the amount of time you’re working out by over half? That’s right. Science has shown that these workouts are so effective, that you literally can work out for half the time and get the same or better results. Benefits include increased muscle endurance, reduced aortic stiffness, and increased insulin activity, among others.

6. Greater Variety
HIIT accommodates for a wider variety of workout and exercise options, which can also offer benefits as far as continuing with a regular workout routine. In fact, individuals who incorporate different activities, such as burpees, running, and other activities have been found to achieve the same or similar benefits as individuals who strictly stuck to one type of exercise in their interval workouts.

7. Improved Cardiovascular Performance
HIIT not only strengthens the heart, but it also increases the elasticity of the arteries and veins better than aerobic exercise alone. This type of workout may even be better tolerated by individuals who are at risk or already have coronary artery disease compared to a more moderate-intensity workout.

8. Greater Fat Loss
It goes without saying that interval training increases fat loss; however, the benefits extend beyond just that. This type of workout has also been shown to reduce muscle loss while increasing fat loss. This is especially important as it can be so difficult to lose weight without sacrificing muscle.

These are just a few of the many amazing benefits of high intensity interval training. If you’ve not tried it, then now is the time. Increase your endurance and overall health while spending half the time in the gym. It’s a win-win scenario.

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5 Hormone Therapy Facts You Probably Didn’t Know

There are times in life when simple functions that used to happen in our bodies like clockwork taper off, which sometimes results in symptoms that are uncomfortable, or in some cases life changing. This is true for both men and women, and it happens with age. Hormone levels that were once at an ideal level that made us feel healthier and more vibrant gradually change. These changes are completely natural, but when they create symptoms that become bothersome, some people try methods like hormone replacement therapy in an attempt to regain some of the healthier attributes they once had.

Hormone therapy is often used in women during perimenopause years and during menopause itself to relieve uncomfortable symptoms that happen normally with age, when hormone levels decrease. Hormone replacement therapy is often used to counteract uncomfortable side effects like hot flashes, night sweats, and disruptions to sleep that can make life more difficult, especially when the symptoms are so pronounced that they are significantly affecting a person’s ability to function. In men, hormones are sometimes used for occurrences of prostate or testicular cancer, or even for unwelcome symptoms like tiredness, sluggish feelings and loss of muscle strength.

Hormone Use Comes With Side Effects
One thing that people need to understand before they think of undergoing hormone replacement therapy is that using these hormones, whether they are pharmaceutical or herbal plant-based, can result in unwelcome side effects. Here are some hormone therapy facts that you might not know:

1) Heart Attack and Stroke Risks Increase – Using hormone therapy long-term can increase risk of heart attack and stroke. This is one reason hormone therapy is usually recommended as a short term solution for relief of the most troublesome symptoms that occur with hormone decreases, according to Health & Wellness Medical Center.

2) Hormone Therapy and Osteoporosis – Hormone replacement can have beneficial side effects for women, who often experience a decrease in bone mass and strength as they age called Osteoporosis. Bones can weaken and become brittle, eventually leading to breaks. The bones most often affected according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists are those in the wrists, hip and spine. Hormone therapy can help to lessen Osteoporosis. However, hormone therapy is usually recommended for short-term use because of other serious risks.

3) Using Hormone Replacement Wisely – Hormone replacement should be used under the care and supervision of a professional. The risks presented by hormone therapy should be weighed against other risk factors for illness that also exist like being over 55, obesity, poor lifestyle choices, smoking, medical history of heart attacks, strokes or deep vein thrombosis.

4) Hormone therapy in men – You might not have known that hormone therapy is sometimes used in men. Reasons for use range from attempting to increase survival rates in men who have been diagnosed with prostate or testicular cancer, to alleviating symptoms like persistent fatigue and reduction of muscle mass. Testosterone replacements are often the therapy used. The length of treatment is based on things like the Gleason score, a method used to grade the way cancer tissue looks under microscope, and on the PSA levels of men, determined through blood tests.

5) Estrogen used in men – Another little known fact about hormone therapy is that estrogen was once used in men to decrease androgen levels. This was thought to help in certain cancer cases. Today, estrogen is no longer used for this purpose because of the same risks that women have encountered when using estrogen, like increased risks of heart attack and stroke.

Hormones are Combined For Safety

When hormone therapy is prescribed, hormones are often combined to increase the safety in using hormones. This way, hormones are more similar to those that are produced naturally by the body when people are younger. Estrogen is used along with Progestin to keep an imbalance in hormones from being created.

If estrogen is used alone, the lining of the uterus can thicken. This overgrowth, known as hyperplasia of cells, can eventually cause uterine cancer. When hormone therapy is used, it’s often advised for the use to be short-term, and for relief of the most prominent and troubling symptoms.

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Easy and Effective At-Home Workouts

It is crucial to make regular exercise a part of your routine, but some days you’re just feeling too lazy, or you have too much work to do to leave the house. Luckily, there are plenty of exercises you can do at home that don’t take up too much space or time, but will still help you stay toned and flexible. Here are some of our favorite at-home workouts.

 

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For core strength:

Core strength is vital because your abdominal muscles support your spine and help you coordinate movement throughout your entire body. To develop your core strength, traditional crunches are the way to go. Make sure you keep your shoulders down and your stomach held in for the most efficient movement. For something a little more challenging, you can also try a roll-up. Lie down with your arms above your head and your legs out straight. Engage your core and roll up one vertebra at a time until you are touching your toes, then roll back down. This exercise is great because it engages your entire core.

For upper body strength: To keep your arms and shoulders feeling strong and toned, try push-ups and planks. The great thing about both of these exercises is that they can be done in a variety of different positions depending on your skill level. You can put your knees on the ground in a ‘V’ shape to take some stress off of your back, or you can try side push-ups and planks for an added challenge.

 

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For back flexibility and strength: Many people underestimate the importance of keeping your back strong and flexible, but as one of the biggest parts of your body, it is crucial to make sure your back is strong. To develop strength in your back, try ‘supermans’ – lay face down with your arms overhead, then arch your back up as far as you can and hold. Increase the amount of time you hold the pose as you develop strength in your back. To improve flexibility in your back, try the traditional yoga poses of downward dog and cobra. Downward dog lengthens the muscles in the back (as well as the muscles in the back of your legs), and Cobra helps develop your ability to arch backward.

For thigh strength: To strengthen the upper part of your legs, try lunges and squats. You can do these in many different positions, and you can repeat as many times as you need, depending on your level of fitness. These are also great because they stretch out your hamstrings and quadriceps muscles.

For calf strength: Try some calf raises to add some definition to your lower leg muscles. Just five or ten of these each day can make a huge difference, and they are an easy exercise to do while cooking or doing other chores around the house. Just be sure to stretch out the calf muscles after doing this exercise to avoid developing unnecessary muscle tension.

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Food For Long-Lasting Energy

To stay energized for your busy day, you will need to eat a diet that keeps you feeling great from morning to night. From your workout to a long day at the office to a night out with friends, even a typical day in your life can be completely exhausting. Many people aren’t sure exactly what to eat when they need to boost their energy and find themselves drained and sleepy when they don’t eat the right nutrients. Here are some of the best foods for energy that will last you all day long.

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Whole-wheat bread
Carbohydrates are the key to staying energized, but you need to ensure that you are feeding your body the best kinds of carbs. Whole-wheat bread is a great option because it is a complex, whole-grain carb that will give you energy without all of the negatives of more processed bread and pastas. Add some peanut butter to your bread for a quick protein boost.

Brown rice
Brown rice is another great option for the same reason – it is a complex carbohydrate without the processed sugars of heavier pasta. It also tastes excellent with some salt and is easy and cheap to make.

 

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Eggs
The protein and dairy in eggs will keep you going all morning long, so start your day off right with a breakfast of scrambled eggs or an omelet. You can also take a hard-boiled egg with you for lunch for a quick and easy protein boost that tastes delicious.

Fruits
As the world’s natural sugars, fruits are a great alternative when you are craving candy or other sweets. Bananas are full of potassium to keep you from cramping up during a workout, oranges and other citrus fruits provide essential vitamins, and watermelons, honeydew, and cantaloupe all keep you feeling fresh and hydrated. Pack a fruit salad for lunch for a sugar rush that will last.

Dark chocolate
If you really can’t live without candy, dark chocolate is a great option for a variety of reasons. It contains caffeine, which will wake you up if you are feeling sleepy in the middle of the day. It also contains antioxidants, which are great for long-term health. Keep a bar in your gym bag or desk at work for emergency craving satisfaction without the guilt.

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Salmon
Most seafood is great for your health, but salmon is particularly full of omega-3 fatty acids, which are vital for maintaining your body’s metabolism. Salmon is also chock-full of protein, which is crucial for maintaining slow-burning energy throughout the entire day. Have a grilled filet for dinner a few times per week, and you’ll notice that you feel satisfied and energetic the next morning.

Walnuts
These are a great on-the-go snack that contains omega-3s, antioxidants, and vitamin E. They also contain melatonin, so they’ll help you sleep better at night and feel more awake in the morning. Throw a bag of these in your car to help you when you’re craving something salty.

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