HIIT or Traditional Endurance: Which is Better?
Can you do interval training (HIIT) for endurance? Yes, incorporating interval training into your regular workout regiment can help improve your endurance.
Also, despite the advantages of a shorter workout, there are still plenty of reasons you may want to stick to your old routine. While with a HIIT session, you need to be watching the clock to keep an eye on the intervals and rests that separate them, a traditional run can be meditative and relaxing.
We all know that running is an excellent source of cardiovascular exercise and that there are many other health benefits.
Running can help improve your physical, aerobic and mental health and strengthen both muscles and bones. There is even research that running helps to sharpen your mental capacities.
One of the big questions in the running world is which is better: high-intensity interval training or endurance training. Should your focus be high endurance training, or should you use intervals to strengthen your body?
The answer to that question depends on what you are training to achieve.
After all, we don’t always have time for long cardio sessions, and that is okay. Life needs to be about balance.
What if we told you that you could maximize the benefits of your runs without having to sacrifice other parts of your life?
Interval training sessions may be the time-saving workout you need to make the best of both worlds.
What Are High Endurance Activities?
Endurance physical activities and training plans keep you moving for a prolonged period of time.
Do not assume that you are expected to be putting forth a significant, higher-intensity effort during these. In fact, just the opposite.
Usually, when you are engaging in continuous training, you are at a lower level of perceived effort regarding how you are taxing your cardio system.
However, since you are spending a longer period of time in a moderate-intensity activity, your body does get tired.
When you are continually and consistently engaging in an endurance activity such as running or swimming, your body gets acclimated to holding a pace for a prolonged period of time.
It doesn’t get easier; you get stronger.
The most common strength training and endurance activities include running, swimming, cycling, and brisk walking.
But did you know that dancing, soccer, and tennis could also qualify?
What is the Best Endurance Exercise?
There is no best intensity exercise per se because it does depend on your current level of fitness, athletic background, and goals.
If you have bad knees, for example, a trainer would probably point you toward cycling or swimming to avoid pounding.
Running could be a better option for endurance athletes who do not have limitations.
Let’s not forget that three awesome endurance exercises combine to create the triathlon, a race event with athletes swimming, biking and running.
If you are hoping for some high endurance training, a triathlon might be the way to go.
Anyone who has ever played tennis or soccer can tell you that those can also qualify as endurance exercises.
As can dancing, if you are doing it without a long rest!
Is HIIT or Endurance Better?
So which is right for you, a shorter run with bursts of intensity or traditional endurance training?
The answer depends on what you want to gain from it.
High-Intensity Interval Training, or HIIT, describes a workout designed to alternate short but intense bouts of cardio with even shorter moderate ones.
This routine has achieved popularity in the last few years for its ability to improve endurance performance and overall fitness while decreasing the amount of time spent exercising.
An example of a HIIT session might be a warmup, then a repeated interval of a minute of running as hard as possible, followed by thirty seconds of fast walking, and ending with a cool down.
This interval circuit needs to be performed only a few times to yield benefits and can result in athletic performance as proficient as though you had put in the work of a longer routine.
The science behind interval training can help you decide whether or not it’s a good decision for you.
For instance, we all know that exercise improves your metabolism, but HIIT can rev it up even more. This is because of the increased oxygen consumption caused by the intense cardio intervals.
Excess oxygen speeds up the metabolism after a workout and allows you to achieve your VO2 max for greater lung capacity.
The VO2 max is a sign of high cardiovascular fitness and measures the greatest amount of oxygen you can consume while engaged in physical exercise.
With a faster metabolic rate, a higher heart rate, and more oxygen circulating through your body, a HIIT workout can burn more fat than regular exercise (therefore stimulating weight loss faster). In addition, it can improve blood pressure, blood sugar and can lower your resistance to insulin, unlike long-distance running sessions.
So, can you do interval training for endurance?
Yes, incorporating interval training into your regular workout regiment can help improve your endurance.
Also, despite the advantages of a shorter aerobic exercise, there are still plenty of reasons you may want to stick to your old routine. While with a HIIT session, you need to be watching the clock to keep an eye on the intervals and rests that separate them, a traditional run can be meditative and relaxing.
You can let your mind wander, listen to music and adjust your speed to match your energy levels. An endurance run enables you to focus on other things besides the exercise, providing an escape from the more stressful parts of your life.
Taking the time to exercise in any form is a fantastic way to improve your health, so if a long, slow run is the workout you love, go for it!
As you can see, they both have serious benefits.
How Do You Build High-Intensity Endurance?
When you first start doing HIIT workouts, you may find yourself struggling. One way to build endurance is to start with very short intervals when you are on the “push” and slowly increase the time you are working hard.
For example, if a runner is new to sprint intervals, it would be smart to start out with 20 -30 second bursts of speed. Then, gradually, you can work your way up to 60 or 90 seconds.
One of the things to remember about high-intensity exercise is that you don’t want to keep pushing the length of time when you are pushing your body. The purpose of HIIT is to be going at a very challenging pace or level of effort.
You can, however, increase the total length of the high-intensity training.
Beginners might start out at a 20-30 minute training program and work their way up to 45 -60 minutes.
You will also find that you are tolerating a faster level of speed as you grow stronger and more acclimated to the workouts.
In the beginning, your 85% perceived effort might have you at an 8:00 minute mile pace for :90 seconds. After a month or so of doing this, you will see your speed bursts are faster and faster.
Is HIIT Good for Running Endurance?
High-intensity interval training is absolutely good for running endurance. And it is not even essential that the workout be running related. You can certainly grow from doing running intervals.
If you are struggling with creating your own workout, the Nike Running Club app has speed workouts that can be wonderful for runners looking for guidance through this process.
Don’t think that your HIIT has to be running to help you see benefits.
You can try a spin class, tread Tabata, or a cardio-strength class.
These are great choices to have you mixing up your workout, so you see the growth you are craving.
Don’t Limit Yourself!
Honestly, this is all you need to know to try incorporating HIIT into your lifestyle. And the thing is you don’t have to choose one or the other. The best training cycles have you engaged in all sorts of different workouts.
There are clear benefits for HIIT training, endurance training, and everything in-between.
Whichever type of workout you choose, just be sure it’s something you enjoy.
After all, the workout you love is the one that will keep you motivated and on the right track.
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