Steady State Exercise vs HIIT – What’s Better For You?

Exploring Intensity

Steady State Exercise vs HIIT – What’s Better For You?

Our previous two posts went into some detail about why exercise is so healthy for us AND puts us in a good mood. Cardio High offers a form of high intensity training. But, we are not selling high intensity exercise as the ONLY option. Steady state exercise has value. So why do we focus on high intensity or HIIT?

Entertaining. It’s important to have fun when exercising, or to at least NOT be bored and staring at the clock. Interval training workouts change movements frequently; sometimes every 30 seconds. In our studio we use music and encouragement from coaches to help clients focus and push harder. But a good playlist or podcast during a jog or cycle can provide some entertainment. 

Full Body. Interval training workouts can be set up to provide variety of movement, so clients challenge and use every muscle in their bodies. Steady state exercise is often done with a repetitive motion like cycling, which can overdevelop some muscles and create wear and tear on joints.

Function and Sports. Most activities in life or sports involve some form of a burst of activity and then a return to rest. Interval training mirrors this pattern, and good trainers include functional movements and sports movements like squatting, throwing, pulling and pushing. Even steady state athletes like runners or swimmers can gain benefits like increased speed by including HIIT workouts to their routines.

Health Benefits. There are dozens of studies showing how HIIT creates changes in the body that are superior to steady state exercise. Researchers have gone as far as taking muscle biopsies and measuring the development of mitochondria which improve endurance, not just speed and power.

We could go on, but let’s cut to the chase. What’s best for YOU?

Do the exercise routine you find most enjoyable. If you need a daily dose of just going out for a run and getting lost in your thoughts, then steady state might be best for you. If you like the variety that comes with interval training and you like the way a routine flies by, then choose HIIT. And even though Cardio High is an interval training program, we suggest clients do at least 1-2 sessions of steady state each week to change things up, even if it’s just going for a walk.

-Mark G.

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