With our busy schedules and often regimented life, it can be difficult to workout every day. Slogging away on the treadmill for 30 minutes is time that we’d rather spend catching up with an old friend or closing a deal at work.
The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey reveals that only 3.2% of American adults complete the recommended 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise at least five days a week. The main reason? Lack of time is often cited as the main reason the other 96.8% Americans don’t get their workouts in.
However, PTs have been trying to cram as much exercise in as little time as possible to alleviate these excuses. One of the main culprits is HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), which squeezes in half an hour of exercise into just a few minutes of intense bouts of exercise. Sounds perfect, right?
Is HIIT really the answer to the growing American health crisis?
Well, according to new research, not everyone loves HIIT. By its very nature, it can be unpleasant and not a great solution for America’s growing health crisis. The study, published in the journal Psychology of Sport and Exercise, measured the enjoyment during and following a HIIT workout and a moderate-intensity workout – both burning the same number of calories.
Researchers recruited people who were inactive and obese to test whether HIIT is, in fact, a viable option to encourage Americans to move more. Unsurprisingly, the results showed that people found greater pleasure and enjoyment with the moderate-intensity exercise compared to HIIT.
“I fear these programs send the wrong public health message. The people who can maintain this type of training are a small minority,” says Panteleimon Ekkekakis, a professor of kinesiology at Iowa State University.
Previous studies that have praised HIIT as an enjoyable workout. However, they only had a sample of eight young, athletic men – not exactly a great representation of the general population.
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“The only option is to adopt a type and amount of exercise that will help you incorporate exercise into your daily life so you can be active for the rest of your life,” Ekkekakis said.
When it comes to finding the right exercise plan for you, remember to stick with something you enjoy and to stop viewing your fitness as a chore. The sooner you start seeing exercise as an enjoyable part of life, the easier ‘squeezing’ it in will be.
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