Washington D.C.: An international research team has now found that bringing the science of high intensity interval training (HIIT) into everyday life could be the key to helping unfit, overweight people get more of the exercise they need to improve their health.
According to experts, from washing the car to climbing stairs or carrying groceries, each of these activities is an opportunity for short sharp bursts of 'High Intensity Incidental Physical Activity', HIIPA for short.
Speaking about it, study author Emmanuel Stamatakis said, 'Regular incidental activity that gets you huffing and puffing even for a few seconds has great promise for health.'
In a study, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, Stamatakis and colleagues argue that when considering differences in physical capabilities by age, sex and weight, many daily tasks can be classified as 'high intensity' physical activity. That is, the kind of activity that gets you out of breath enough to boost your fitness.
According to them, including these kinds of activities into routines a few times a day will see significant health benefits for the majority of adults.
Professor Stamatakis added, 'There is a lot of research telling us that any type of HIIT, irrespective of the duration and number of repetitions is one of the most effective ways to rapidly improve fitness and cardiovascular health and HIIPA works on the same idea.'
The authors propose that significant health benefits could be gained by doing three to five brief HIIPA sessions totalling as little as five to 10 minutes a day, most days of the week.
According to study authors the time commitment for HIIPA is close to zero minutes per day, and people could save even more time if their HIIPA involves brief walking sprints, or taking the stairs instead of waiting for the lift. Furthermore, other practical advantages are nil costs, no need for equipment and no concerns about a lack of skill or fitness.
"The beauty of HIIPA and the idea of using activities we are already doing as part of everyday life is that it is much more realistic and achievable for most people,' the professor added.