High-Intensity Exercise Pays Off Big—and Not Just for Top Tier Athletes

Research suggests those with chronic illness can benefit from HIIT

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) and it’s many benefits were a hot topic in 2014. The killer workout helped athletes increase their VO2max and endurance—while other fit folks found that HIIT helped to quickly shed fat. But the biggest benefit of all? HIIT workouts could be done in about half the time of standard workouts, while offering the same benefits—if not better.

Many in the fitness loop happily adopted it into their routines, while those who suffered health issues dismissed the workout for fear it would be harmful to their health. After several studies, though, it seems that HIIT may well be a good fit for those people, too.

A recent article in The New York Times explains research that outlines the benefits of HIIT for chronically ill people. Studies have suggested that HIIT can be more beneficial than standard moderate exercise for people with heart disease, diabetes, stroke, pulmonary disease, arthritis and Parkinson’s Disease.

Since HIIT has been shown to improve cardiovascular, respiratory, metabolic and mechanical functions, it makes sense that the regimen would help those with chronic issues but the stress it puts on the body is still a main concern. A recent report published in the American College of Sports Medicine’s Health & Fitness Journal suggests that only low risk individuals should start the fitness regimen on their own. Those they deem moderate risk should consult a doctor beforehand and high-risk individuals should only do HIIT under “direct medical supervision.”

Though the safe bet is consulting a doctor prior to trying a new fitness plan, this recent research is encouraging.