High-intensity interval training (HIT) continues to capture the interest of people worldwide. This article published in the New York Times, highlighted the progress that is being made in uncovering why brief bursts of high-intensity exercise can provide aerobic benefits. This media attention is essential for communicating new strategies for improving health and well-being. However, many misunderstandings about HIT remain commonplace. Unfortunately, ‘punishing’ and ‘unpleasant’ are terms used to describe HIT, suggesting that HIT is only suitable for individuals who do not mind a bit of pain for their gains. Such ideas disregard the fact that effective HIT protocols have been developed for inactive individuals, and they rate the experience as no harder than vigorous aerobic exercise.
It is questioned whether HIT will be ‘as good as’ the current physical activity recommendations (150 min of aerobic exercise per week) at reducing heart disease. Yet large longitudinal intervention studies do not show any benefits of the current physical activity recommendations on heart disease! More recently, the benefits of HIT were criticized, and attributed only to ‘small studies’. We are pleased that soon we will be able to share the impact of HIT in 300 subjects – so watch this space for new develops and the most accurate information on HIT!