HIIT vs Moderate Intensity Continuous Training: Which One Is Better?

When preparing for a triathlon or another endurance sports event, deciding on the best workout can be a bit of a struggle.

One of the most effective training methods in the sports world is HIIT: high-intensity interval training. It’s fast, and intense and allows you to burn calories like no other workout.

Moderate-intensity continuous training (MICT) consists of resting intervals and training  — either cycling, jogging, running, walking, rowing, etc. – with a measured intensity of 70-75% maximum heart rate for 50 minutes.

Although both HIIT and MICT have proven to have increased fitness, sporting performance, and physical strength, there’s an ongoing debate on which of the two methods is more beneficial for older adults wishing to participate in sports endurance events.

A 2016 scientific study examined HIIT and MICT to determine which one was better. Here are their findings:

Health benefits

Older adults looking forward to keeping physically active or participating in sporting marathons face challenges such as decreased aerobic fitness and increased risk for cardiovascular disease. HIIT on the treadmill has been demonstrated to be more effective in improving these risk factors compared with MICT.

HIIT vs MICT trials

51 healthy older adults were chosen to carry out HIIT and MICT workouts. HIIT consisted of 4×4 minutes of 90% of peak rate (HRpeak), whereas MICT was 70% of HR peak. The workouts took place 4 times per week during 8 weeks. HIIT was achievable in older adults and resulted in no harmful events.

What’s more, aerobic fitness improved by 11%. On the other hand, no changes resulted from MICT workouts.

Hiit training
source: picryl.com

How to get started

If you’ve decided to start training with HIIT workouts, the first thing you need to know is that there isn’t a standard HIIT method. However, the Tabata method is the best-known form of HIIT training.

It only lasts 4 minutes and it is quite simple: 8 series of 20 seconds of high intensity, followed by 10 seconds of rest. You can include any type of sport or exercise, be it running, cycling, swimming or doing a bodyweight workout.

 Sources

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29949110

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25771785

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