High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is currently one of the favourite fitness trends championed by fitness industry professionals and fitness publications all over the world.

A quick Google search will show you HIIT is a component of a large percentage of programmes available, claiming rightly and sometimes wrongly it will give you benefits ranging from better cardiovascular fitness to weight loss (fat loss).

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Should we believe the hype?

What exactly is HIIT, is it worthy of the hype it has generated in the fitness industry and more importantly is it a safe and effective exercise protocol for every body?

HIIT is a protocol where you perform a cardiovascular activity like stationary cycle (where most of the available research has been done on HIIT) alternating between bouts of fast paced exercise and breaks of lower intensity of exercise.

Some of the claims made are this type of exercise aides in the weight loss process (which is not conclusively backed up by human trails) and it increases your cardiovascular ability.

Is HIIT a safe and effective method of training for every body?

The short answer is no, these sessions is not suited for everybody.

The hidden dangers of HIIT is actually quite broad, we all can recall of the injury to the TV presenter Andrew Marr who suffered a stroke after doing HIIT for the first time, which could have been made worse by high stress levels.

Like all forms of exercise there are pros and cons to every training method and you have to be aware of the possible negatives of your training.

negatives of high intensity interval training_2HIIT raises the blood pressure and core temperature of the body substantially, the mode of exercise could have a shearing effect on the the musculoskeletal and vascular system, especially of someone who is not conditioned.

Possible negatives of high intensity interval training:

1. Might not be the most effective way of losing weight

2. Because of the intensity the risk of neuromuscular injury is high

3. There is a high risk of suffering a heart attack

4. There is a high risk of suffering a stroke

5. Pregnancy complications

Other less serious effects could be:

1. Hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar levels)

2. Nausea

3. Headaches

4. Feeling faint

There are some intelligent choices you can make when embarking on a HIIT programme.

HIIT is predominantly for people, who have are relatively advanced with their training, if you have not trained for some years take it slow and gradually build up into HIIT. Make sure you know the correct form for your specific chosen exercise.

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Keep in mind

If you suffer from high stress levels, pains on the chest, get dizzy while training, have a current or previous injury(joints or muscular), on medication for blood pressure or beta blockers or in your first trimester of pregnancy consult your doctor first before embarking on training.

When starting off on a HIIT seek the help of a professional to ensure you get the correct program for yourself and your specific needs and if you experience any of the symptoms mentioned above stop immediately. 

Yours in health!

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