In the News: Martin Gibala on high-intensity interval training
Martin Gibala, professor in the department of kinesiology, was recently interviewed in the New York Times about the popular exercise, where you challenge your cardiovascular system with a short burst of intense exercise followed by a rest or slow down.
November 11, 2021
Don’t let the name fool you. High-intensity interval training, or HIIT, doesn’t have to be that all that intense.
Martin Gibala, professor at McMaster’s department of kinesiology, was recently interviewed in the New York Times about the popular exercise, where you challenge your cardiovascular system with a short burst of intense exercise followed by a rest or slow down.
“So many people are intimidated, because they think HIIT has to be this all-out, hard-as-you-can-go, gut-busting workout,” he said. It doesn’t.
“I wish we would start using the more-encompassing term ‘interval training,’” he said, noting that on a green-yellow-red scale of effort, you should be at a yellow during the intense period.
Gibala has conducted research on the physiological and health benefits of interval training for years.
In 2006, his lab published a study comparing interval training with traditional endurance training. Interval trainers completed 12 minutes of intense exercise, while the traditional group completed about 12 hours of exercise. Both saw improved measures of fitness.
Another study published at the beginning of the year, when many gyms were still closed because of COVID-19, found simple bodyweight exercises are an efficient way to improve cardiorespiratory fitness.
Also quoted in the article was Jennifer Heisz, an assistant professor in kinesiology whose research examines the effects of physical activity on the brain.
She told the paper HIIT improves memory in younger and older adults in ways that standard, moderate exercise can’t.
Heisz has a new book coming out next year titled “Move the Body, Heal the Mind.”