workout

High-Intensity Low-Impact Interval Training (HILIT)

Abstract

High-intensity low impact interval training or HILIT is a new concept that combines the previously popular high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and low impact training LIT exercise forms. It is being said that HILIT can be more beneficial than other forms of workouts and it can bring benefits to the blood, the heart, the metabolism, the joints, and biomarker parameters. This article describes what HILIT is, what kind of exercises can be done in it, how (and if) it is different from HIIT and LIT, what are its benefits, and how you can start doing a HILIT based workout.

Introduction

New terms keep coming up in the health and fitness industry which become instantly popular, especially if they are mentioned by some celebrity. Such a term is HILIT – or High Intensity, Low Impact Training – a term for a new combination workout which has been recently developed to maximize results with reduced impact on the body. Let us first understand what parameters make a kind of exercise better than the others, and what intensity and impact are.

The things that matter the most and have a great effect on the results of any workout are its Duration (of rest in between), Intensity and Impact. On this base workouts are called as low impact or high impact, low intensity or high intensity, etc. With the development of more systematic workout techniques the workouts like high intensity – high impact, high intensity – low impact, low intensity – low impact etc. were developed. Moderate intensity also became a term that would fall in between the high and the low.

Intensity refers to the amount of work our heart has to give in during each activity. The intensity of any exercise is affected by the duration of rest allowed between repetitions. It means that during high-intensity exercises, the heart rate is increased much above normal. Therefore high-intensity workouts tend to be of shorter duration. On the other hand, moderate and low-intensity exercises can be done for longer, also requiring lesser breaks or rest in between. The impact of any activity, on the other hand, is the amount of force your BODY has to put in i.e. the force you have to exert using your bones, muscles, and joints. Therefore low impact exercises tend to cause lesser injuries while the high impact ones can cause injuries and require more care and level of experience and practice.

HILIT is therefore high in intensity i.e. these movements involve the whole body and require the heart to pump blood faster; but it is still low in impact which means that it is gentler on the joints.

How is HILIT different from other forms of exercise?

Before HILIT came into the limelight the newest and most popular form of exercise was HIIT – which stands for high intensity interval training. It has a significant effect on the heart rate and the body movements involved are fast and intense, but the effect on the body’s muscles and joints is also significant. It means that one can get tired and injured really easily during a session of HIIT.

On the other hand, the term HILIT itself explains its benefit over other forms – that it is low in impact and yet compares to the exercises falling in the high intensity category. The ordinary high intensity exercise programs would involve more exercises that put sudden and intense pressure on the joints, for example, squats combined with jumps, or burpees.  In these routines one is more likely to injure or overwork their knees. These kinds of exercises also bring about tiredness faster and make the person more likely to lose balance and proper form during the exercise. HILIT – based workouts on the other hand, are almost the same in intensity during the workout, but have a comparatively much lower chance of injury, because of lesser pressure on the joints.

The Benefits of HILIT

Some of you might be assuming that low impact exercises have no benefits. We tend to compare benefits and results with the amount of tiredness or pain that a workout gives us. This is not so, especially with HILIT. It is time we understand that exercise techniques can be modified in such ways that reduced impact can provide improved benefits. HILIT is extremely beneficial when it is done systematically for specific parts of the body or muscle groups.

This relatively new concept of workout training has many benefits – and that’s why it is gaining even more popularity among the youth.

  • The most important one is that it is gentle on the bones and the joints.
  • HILIT can effectively prevent injuries.
  • HILIT can be done for more days a week and for longer duration.
  • HILIT provides many choices and options and has lesser restrictions. 
  • HILIT can burn more calories in less time, i.e. HILIT is for those who are short on time.
  • HILIT workouts allow customizability of rest and exercise durations.
  • HILIT enhances metabolism and keeps doing so even after the workout.
  • It encourages fat metabolism instead of carb metabolism.
  • It can easily replace hours of cardio exercises.
  • HILIT can be done indoors as well as outdoors.
  • There is a lesser risk of injury in HILIT compared to weight training.
  • HILIT provides the benefits of HIIT and cardio.
  • It is especially recommended for the overweight and the obese.
  • It can increase muscle tissues even faster than HIIT.
  • It can improve aerobic respiration.
  • It can enhance consumption of oxygen at cellular levels.
  • HILIT has a positive impact on bio parameters such as BP, heart rate, etc.
  • It can help manage mild heart diseases.
  • It can even prevent heart diseases.
  • HILIT can help achieve normal blood glucose levels.
  • HILIT is lighter on your joints, and can be done by older adults.

Tips on how to start doing HILIT

If you have been doing HIIT or weight training, it would be easier for you to manage time and reps during your first HILIT workout. You will need a wrist watch or a timer clock during your workout. You can also look up some expert recommendations to begin doing HILIT. Below are some tips on how to get started with HILIT:

  • Always warm up by gentle jogging, stretching etc.
  • Climb an elliptical machine and set the timer for thirty seconds. Run the pedals as fast as you can until the timer rings. Take a break for 15 seconds and repeat this for around 10 times.
  • Sprint as fast as you can for a minute and then rest for 15 seconds. Do at least 5 reps.
  • Do burpees, or squats fast and then do jumping jacks in between. Do at least 8 reps of these.

Examples of exercises that you can include in your new HILIT based workout routine are yoga, walking lunges, light weight training, exercising using yoga bands or straps, Pilates, swimming, bicycling, etc. You can also think of new ideas and combine your favorite exercises together.

Conclusion

All forms of workouts provide some of the other benefits to an individual, but sometimes the individuals are not able to decide what kind of workouts would suit them and their needs. Sometimes they find discomforts or drawbacks in one form or workout, and they either stop doing any workout at all or keep going despite the drawbacks. The HILIT program promises to remove drawbacks from HIIT and combines it with LIT so that it suits maximum individuals who wish to see maximum results with minimum drawbacks. Modern exercise forms have the benefit that they can be modified and customized as the needs of people evolve. HILIT seems like a good fusion between HIIT and LIT.

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