5 Benefits Of High Intensity Interval Training

5 Benefits Of High Intensity Interval Training

Article originally appeared on Well + Good. 

By Lisa Elaine Held

Jordan Metzl, MD, is serious about high-intensity interval training. So much so that HIIT is becoming his go-to Rx.

The New York City physician has been trying to build bridges between fitness and medicine for a while now, and with his new book, Dr. Jordan Metzl’s Workout Prescription, out December 13, he strongly makes the argument that HIIT is a workout that—despite some of the pumped-up rhetoric out there—is not just for the super fit.

Dr. Metzl believes it can be accessible to people of all ages and fitness levels, and comes with incredible health benefits for those with minimal time and equipment. (To that end, the book includes lots of at-home body-weight workouts that range from 10 to 30 minutes, so you can literally jump right in.)


Photo credit: The Phoenix Effect

“What I tried to do is use both the role of doctor and fitness instructor to offer the best information on the science of intensity…and how people can get the most benefit [from exercise] within the least amount of time,” he explains.

The only thing Dr. Metzl doesn’t like about HIIT? The name, which he says can make the type of training sound scary. “It sounds daunting to people,” he explains. “I want people to not be afraid of intensity; I want them to embrace intensity.”

To help you do just that, we talked to Dr. Metzl about some of the common myths around HIIT to bring you these five surprising facts.


Photo credit: Dr. Jordan Metzl

1. HIIT is no more dangerous than less intense forms of exercise. 

In fact, Dr. Metzl fell in love with HIIT after it helped him rehab his own sports injury many years ago. “I can get people’s entire kinetic chain stronger in a shorter period of time, which prevents injury,” he explains.

Many fitness injuries are also due to overuse, especially among runners, and since HIIT is short, it eliminates many of those risks (think repetitive striking of your foot on the pavement). Dr. Metzl says he has kids as young as 9 up to adults as old as 80 that come to his classes and do the workout safely—you just have to focus on form and not go overboard in terms of training. “I’d recommend a couple times a week, not every day,” he notes.


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