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  • Writer's pictureShruti GOCHHWAL

How HIIT Affects Your Body and Mind

High-Intensity Interval Training or HIIT is a workout strategy which has been gaining popularity all over the world. In HIIT, high-intensity bursts of exercises are performed and followed by recovery periods consisting of less intense exercise.

This technique has grown so popular because of its effectiveness. It is believed that a benefits of HIIT workouts can provide the results of a traditional workout in half the time. Another reason for its success is that it requires a very small amount of time. Some HIIT workout routines are as small as 7 minutes. Their duration usually varies between 10 to 30 minutes.

To understand why HIIT workouts are successful we need to understand how they affect the mind and body.

Effects of HIIT Workout  on the Body

Improved Circulation

Blood circulation is very important for optimal body function and proper vascular functions. Due to their intense nature, HIIT workouts improve blood circulation which ensures that blood reaches every part of the body.

Improved circulation helps in maintaining organ health in the body.

Muscle Strengthening

High-intensity Interval Training leads to small muscle tears. These muscle tears help build muscle strength.

Two people performing HIIT workouts

8 weeks of HIIT can increase muscle strength significantly, Credits: Pickpik

When a muscle tears, the white blood cells present in the body act on it and repair the muscle. After repairing the muscle it becomes stronger than before.

HIIT workouts lead to a lot of minor muscle tears which help in building muscle strength.

Increase in Oxygen Use

When you perform any physical activity your body uses oxygen. A demand and supply system of oxygen exists between the body and the lungs. In mild workouts, this demand and supply are easily maintained but in HIIT workouts more oxygen is required which leads to oxygen depletion.

This forces the body to work harder to maintain the oxygen supply which results in burning more calories. The oxygen use is directly proportional to the number of calories burned.

Increase in Core Temperature and Heart Rate

During HIIT workout, you exert a large amount of energy which results in releasing heat. This heat is responsible for increasing the core body temperature. A rise in core temperature is good for a warm-up and also increases the amount of sweat produced which is beneficial to the body.

The increase in the heart is temporary and is usually only observed in the early days of the workout. Studies show that long term HIIT workouts result in a healthier heart.

Better Metabolism

HIIT workouts are responsible for increasing the release of a hormone called Human Growth Hormone or HGH. This hormone helps in increasing the overall metabolism of the body. There are studies which show that effects of a HIIT workout can last up to 24 hours on the metabolism of the body.

Effects of HIIT on the Mind

Increase in the Release of Endorphins

A Person smiling

Endorphins release can improve the mood, Credits: Pexels

Endorphins are hormones which are released by the brain. They are also called feel-good chemicals. Endorphins release helps us in feeling better about ourselves. Studies suggest HIIT workouts lead to larger increases in the number of endorphins as compared to milder workouts. Endorphins are important for overall mental health.

High Neurotransmitter Levels and BDNF

Recent studies show that high-intensity workouts can increase the levels of two particular neurotransmitters which are GABA and Glutamate.

The lack of these neurotransmitters has been linked with mental health diseases such as depression. Some experts believe that HIIT workouts can help treat depression.

BDNF is Brain-derived Neurotrophic Factor. It has various important functions. A study by the University of Texas has found that HIIT can increase BDNF levels which leads to cognitive enhancement and improvement in mood.

What are the Benefits of HIIT Workouts?

The following are some benefits of HIIT workouts:

  1. Fat loss without muscle loss

  2. Greater Calorie burning

  3. High efficiency

  4. Improved metabolism

  5. Equipment is not needed

A person doing HIIT workout

HIIT workouts do not require any specialized equipment, Credits: Pexels


HIIT workouts have significant effects on the mind and body. These effects are largely positive and help in improving overall health. If you want to start with HIIT workouts be sure to start with smaller duration workouts and gradually build on them.

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