Get the most out of your exercise; go at it with high intensity

Intense exercise helps your heart, blood vessels and muscles do their jobs better.

Janet Antoshko Healthy Living
Janet Antoshko
Healthy Living

You can be active in a variety of ways, such as going for a walk with your dog, or taking the stairs at work. Yet how many people are actually burning the amount of calories that they think they are? Exercise in general has benefits for everyone, but the harder you work the more you will get out of it.

Healthy lifestyles, including exercise, can help prevent the onset of chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. The intensity of exercise is important.

Exercise with intensity for optimum results.
Exercise with intensity for optimum results.

Aerobic exercise has many benefits for high-risk populations. These benefits, and especially weight loss, increase even more with high intensity interval training. HIIT involves repeatedly exercising at a high intensity for 30 seconds to several minutes, followed by one to five minutes of either no or low intensity exercise (a period known as recovery).

High-intensity workouts can help your heart, blood vessels and muscles do their jobs better, allowing blood and oxygen to flow more freely and helping you feel less tired after a workout. High intensity interval training also gives a boost to the human growth hormone which helps to improve insulin sensitivity, boost fat loss and increase muscle growth. All these benefits can help you avoid, or live better with, diseases such as heart disease or diabetes. Exercise has also been proven to help older adults increase their mobility, reduce the risk for falls, lower the dose of their medications and have fewer hospital stays..

High intensity interval training has been shown to be associated with increased patient compliance and improved cardiovascular and metabolic health.

This type of training can be implemented in both healthy and “at risk” populations. Certain patients may require specific assessment or instruction prior to beginning a HIIT program.

More intense workouts take up less time and can be helpful for those who have schedules that do not allow for five or six 30-minute workouts a week. Though saving time, you can obtain the same, if not more, health benefits as those who exercise longer, more often.

A simple talk test while you are performing an exercise will tell you the intensity of your exercise effort – light and therefore not qualifying as high intensity, moderate and hard. That intensity has a direct effect on your capacity to communicate.

Part of daily living
Whether you do short, intense workouts or longer, more moderate exercises, any kind of physical activity is a good practice to incorporate into your lifestyle. Exercise has benefits for your body, soul and mind, and can lead to a variety of positive improvements such as weight loss and improved mood, and can help prevent sickness and disease while increasing mobility.

Remember, before you start any new exercise routine talk with a medical professional, especially if you have any health concerns. If you want more workout information, you may want to contact an exercise professional.

Janet Antoshko is a kinesiologist at Victoria General Hospital. To support patient care at the Vic, please contact Victoria General Hospital at 204-477-3513 or online at

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