Everyone has heard of High-intensity interval training (HIIT), a training technique in which you give all-out, one hundred per cent effort through quick, intense bursts of exercise, followed by short, sometimes active, recovery periods. It is perfect for those who want maximum results for a minimal time. While this method of cardiovascular exercise is effective for some, for others who may have injuries or other underlying conditions, a HIIT workout may not be the best choice.

For those who are unsure about HIIT, meet HIIPA, a high-intensity incidental physical activity that incorporates everyday activities into an exercise regime. Think hauling groceries and climbing stairs which gets your heart rate up.

HIIPA can be a good first step for people who don’t normally exercise to get them on the road to fitness. Researchers who explored HIIPA as part of a new study say that unfit, overweight people can leverage the opportunity for HIIPA to get more fitness into their routines.

“Regular incidental activity that gets you huffing and puffing even for a few seconds has great promise for health,” said Emmanuel Stamatakis, PhD, a professor at the University of Sydney’s Charles Perkins Centre and School of Public Health, in a statement.

His editorial published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine stated that many daily tasks are high-intensity activities. Incorporating more of these activities into the day could give many adults some big health benefits.

When an overweight or unfit person participates in high-intensity activity, it requires more than six times the energy than they expend while at rest.

If sedentary people get more of those activities into their day and repeat them — just three to five sessions for 5 to 10 minutes per day, the researchers contend — it could have health advantages similar to HIIT.

“There is a lot of research telling us that any type of HIIT, irrespective of the duration and number of repetitions, is one of the most effective ways to rapidly improve fitness and cardiovascular health, and HIIPA works on the same idea,” Stamatakis said.

Joanna Stahl, personal trainer and founder of Go2Practice, a fitness platform, said the micro exercises can be helpful if they are above a person’s typical activity level. Stahl believes that HIIPA could be useful to get more sedentary people moving and then working up to more intense workouts. “If it creates a behavioural change and challenges your body beyond current adaptability, it is a net win and will be a step to reaching any array of fitness goals.”

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