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For most of you, going for a dip in a pool or lake is one of the best experiences of the summer.
The feeling of relaxation… the way the water wraps around your body…it’s a cool comfort on a hot day.
But did you know that there’s a great way to improve your overall health just by getting moving for only nine minutes in the water?
That’s right, despite the advice you may have gotten from your doctor, research is repeatedly showing that long sessions of aerobic exercise are not necessary to get fit.
In fact, the key is to workout smarter — not harder.
HIIT is being studied by scientists around the world for its ability to improve all aspects of your health by using brief bursts of activity.
In case you don’t know what “HIIT” stands for, it’s simply an acronym for High Intensity Interval Training. With HIIT, you push your body as hard as you can for a very short period of time, usually 15-30 seconds, followed by a minute or two of slower paced movement to slow your heart rate.
It’s been well documented for giving participants a massive boost in performance, endurance, and overall health for a very small time commitment.
Real results for real people
Let’s take a look at what studies are showing HIIT can do for your body.
According to a recent study out of McMaster University in Canada, 12 weeks of this type of brief intense interval exercise improved indices of cardio-metabolic health to the same extent as traditional endurance training, despite a five-fold lower exercise volume and time commitment.
While another study found that although HIIT workouts actually burned fewer calories during the actual workouts than did steady-state cardio exercise — probably due to the fact that the HIIT workout is shorter — the HIIT program produced more fat loss than steady-state exercise did overall.
And, the HIIT workout promoted muscle building while the traditional steady-state exercise broke down muscle.
Combining HIIT with water resistance
There are many ways to perform HIIT — from jumping rope and cycling to burpees and kettlebell swings.
But, why not add in some water resistance to boost your workout even more all while staying cool?
So, it’s time to HIIT the pool and get fit.
For this workout, you’ll have 4 easy periods (beginning with a gentle warmup) that alternate with 3 burst moves that last for 20 seconds each. Here’s how to do it:
- Warm up with 2 minutes of marching in place while pumping your arms, all in waist deep water.
- While still in waist deep water, begin in a lunge position with your right foot out front and jump back and forth, switching legs in the process. Do this for just 20 seconds.
- For the next 2 minutes, just walk about, slowing yourself down and calming your breathing.
- Next, lean up against the wall of the pool or dock and extend your legs out in front of you, vigorously kicking for 20 more seconds.
- As you move to deep water, begin to circle your arms and legs and tread gently and calmly for 2 minutes.
- Move again to waist deep water and begin to extend your arms out, reaching as far as you can on the left, and make forceful circles with your hands, creating a whirlpool around you. Switch to the right and repeat for a total of 20 seconds.
- Finally, while still in waist deep water, cool down for the last 2 minutes with a gentle walk, bringing your breath back into balance and calm.
This simple exercise routine, performed 2-3 times a week, can quickly get you in back in shape and offer you numerous health benefits as mentioned above.
And remember, even when summer is over, you can still perform these exercises at your indoor community pool or gym. The next time you go for a dip, spend just a little time and reap the benefits for life with this HIIT water routine.
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- Similar metabolic adaptations during exercise after low volume sprint interval and traditional endurance training in humans — The Journal of Physiology
- An empirical index of insulin sensitivity from short IVGTT: validation against the minimal model and glucose clamp indices in patients with different clinical characteristics — Diabetologia
- Effect of sprint interval training on circulatory function during exercise in sedentary, overweight/obese women — European Journal of Applied Physiology
- Extremely short duration high intensity interval training substantially improves insulin action in young healthy males — BMC Endocrine Disorders
- Sprint interval and moderate‐intensity continuous training have equal benefits on aerobic capacity, insulin sensitivity, muscle capillarisation and endothelial eNOS/NAD(P)Hoxidase protein ratio in obese men — The Journal of Physiology
- Three Minutes of All-Out Intermittent Exercise per Week Increases Skeletal Muscle Oxidative Capacity and Improves Cardiometabolic Health — PLoS ONE
- Is high-intensity interval training a time-efficient exercise strategy to improve health and fitness? — Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism
- Impact of exercise intensity on body fatness and skeletal muscle metabolism — Metabolism