Low intensity exercise vs HIIT
Unless you’ve been living under the rock, you’d be flooded with all the articles waxing eloquently on the benefits of HIIT. High-Intensity Interval Training, albeit highly effective, is not for everyone. Sure, it is great for busy bodies and seasoned exercisers but those with heart ailments, joint pain and the elderly should proceed with caution.
I have been doing HIIT a few times a week for almost 4 years now and while I couldn’t recommend it enough for its effectiveness, it, too, has a downside. You are NOT supposed to do HIIT workouts every day of the week. Albeit time effective, these exercises work differently on your body and your muscles need time to recover and heal. Low-intensity exercises like walking, pilates or swimming, on the other hand, are great for those beginning a workout regimen after a while. Exercises like tai chi, swimming, pilates or yoga don’t leave you feeling winded and are gentle on your joints, particularly if you have old injuries or inflammation. However, they still help whittle your middle, stabilise your core and get you closer to your workout goals.
I get bored of the same workouts if I do them for two weeks at a stretch so I find that mixing it up really works. These days I’m doing yoga twice a week, pilates twice a week and swimming once a week. I will eventually switch back to HIIT but I’m not quite ready, yet.
The added benefit with Low-intensity-interval-training is that I end up winding down and sleeping better at night. My nerves are more relaxed, my body temperature is better regulated and my energy is balanced. Have a look at some of these low-intensity interval training workouts and see if they work for you.
If you find yourself more anxious, moody, sleep deprived and unable to lose weight despite every effort- take a break and slow down. Studies have shown that very vigorous workouts can raise cortisol levels to cause accumulation of fat around the waist. For women, in particular, long and hard workouts can cause a depletion in energy levels, low mood state, changes in libido and lowering of T3 (an important thyroid hormone). Too much of a good thing can also be bad for you. Please listen to your body and don’t force yourself to do CrossFit after a 14 hour day. Pick a nice podcast and go for a walk or better still, do some restorative yoga and yoga nidra before bedtime.
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