In last month's Healthy U Diabetes Queensland Accredited Exercise Physiologist Emma Briskey introduced you to the idea of increasing your exercise intensity to help you on your journey to a healthier you. This month Emma encourages you to push a little bit harder and challenges you to HIIT it!


What is HIIT?

HIIT stands for high-intensity interval training.


"It may sound a little bit scary, but all it means is that you exercise hard, or at a high intensity, for a short period of time and then you have a short rest to catch your breath and start again," said Emma.


"There are some fantastic benefits to HIIT. HIIT has been shown to be more effective in reducing body fat and improve fitness than an exercise program where you exercise continually at the same intensity. It has also been shown to improve insulin resistance, one of the key factors that can lead to type 2 diabetes."


And the best part? A HIIT workout like the one Emma has put together for Healthy U readers only takes about 20 to 25 minutes, perfect for when you are pushed for time. Include a HIIT workout once or twice a week and keep up your healthy eating and you will see results in no time.


Emma's HIIT It workout

There are a variety of ways to perform HIIT but this one from Accredited Exercise Physiologist Emma Briskey is designed for a stationary bike:



Warm up for two to three minutes at a comfortable pace


Increase the resistance on the bicycle to a workload that feels to be about a nine out of 10 (1=no effort; 10=maximum effort); then pedal hard for one minute


Reduce the resistance on the bike and pedal for one minute at an intensity that feels like four out of 10. (If you need, you can stop completely for this minute rest)


Repeat this "one minute on, one minute off" routine five to 10 times


Cool down at a nice easy pace for two to three minutes


This method can also be applied to many other types of exercise including running, swimming or even stair-climbing! The key is to repeatedly push 'hard' for one minute at a time and then rest or exercise at a lower intensity for another minute. The above is intended as a guide only.


Safety First

Anyone wanting to perform high-intensity exercise should first consult their doctor and obtain clearance. Once clearance has been provided, you may find it beneficial to speak to an Accredited Exercise Physiologist ( who can provide guidance on an appropriate program depending on your individual needs.


For those individuals who don't want to perform high intensity exercise or for whom it is not suitable, you can adapt the method above and still perform your own type of interval training. For example, if you're starting exercise for the first time you might alternate between short periods of brisk walking and slow walking for a total of 10 minutes. As your fitness improves you can increase your total exercise time as well as increase your intensity by shortening your rest periods. Rather than working at the intensity outlined above, you might stick to a five to six out of 10 for your brisk walk and a two to three out of 10 for your recovery periods.


Remember to always listen to your body and be guided by how you feel. If you experience any pain or become unwell during exercise, stop and seek advice from a health care professional.