How to live longer: Five ways HIIT can help your heart – including lowering blood pressure

HIIT: Personal trainer talks through home workout

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Studies have shown adapting a healthy lifestyle can add more than a decade on to your life expectancy. And when it comes to exercise, HIIT has soared in popularity in recent years.

Viewed as a great way to burn fat, boost metabolism, and increase cardiovascular fitness levels, HIIT can be incorporated into a variety of training regimes.

Another important benefit of HIIT which is often overlooked, is its ability to improve heart health as this type of training is designed to elevate the heart rate through short bursts of intense exercise.

Head Trainer of F45 Stratford, Sam Gregory, shared his advice on the different ways HIIT can help your heart

Improves stroke volume

Stroke volume is the amount of blood pumped around the body per heartbeat.

Sam explained: “Stroke volume increases during exercise, especially during demanding forms such as HIIT because of the body’s increased need for oxygen-filled blood.

“This is essential as it can help to supply your body with oxygen more efficiently, and can eventually make tasks in day-to-day life a lot easier.”

Lowers resting heart rate

It is widely known that extreme training helps build extreme results.

Sam said: “It’s hard for most people to push themselves to an anaerobic zone where you lose your breath and feel your heart pounding faster and faster.

“With interval training, it is a lot easier to push yourself to that level because of the rest interval that follows straight after.

“Over time, this can result in a lower resting heart rate which will in turn decrease your chances of suffering from a heart condition.”

Lowers blood pressure

In the short term, HIIT will cause an increase in blood pressure however in the long term, you will witness a decrease, advises Sam.

“This is largely due to the fact that HIIT can reduce the stiffness of the artery walls, leading to a lower resting blood pressure.

“Studies have also repeatedly shown that HIIT is the best form of exercise if you are trying to lower your blood pressure, more so than traditional cardio which has been found to have a much lower effect.”

Manage stress levels

Day-to-day life can be a stressful occurrence for many, and this stress can come in many forms; from finding it difficult to relax to being constantly on the go, the varieties are endless.

According to Sam, stress can cause the heart rate to fluctuate throughout the day, depending on the severity of the situation.

He said: “HIIT has the ability to improve this, and make people better equipped to deal with the difficulties that life throws at them, as it provides a short, fiery session to distract you from all of your concerns.”

Burns fat

HIIT can have an enormous benefit on the heart, by targeting visceral fat in the body.

Sam explained: “Visceral fat is the deep gel-like fat that wraps around major organs, which can contribute to illnesses such as, heart disease, cancer, depression and many more.

“HIIT is also known as one of the best forms of exercise when trying to lose weight, with numerous studies finding that HIIT helps you consume more oxygen than a non-interval workout routine, which helps increase your metabolism rate after a session.

“This increased metabolic rate is what helps you to burn calories and fat at a faster rate.”

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