Have you heard of CrossFit, Insanity, TRX or Tough Mudder? These are just a few of the numerous high intensity training programs out there (also known as high intensity interval training).
Most high intensity training (HIT) programs include a mix of aerobics, core strengthening exercises, weight training, and endurance elements. The training consists of workout periods that range from 5 seconds to 8 minutes long and are performed at 80% to 95% of a person’s maximum heart rate. The workout is followed by a recovery period that lasts as long as the workout time frame and is performed at 40% to 50% of the person’s maximum heart rate. Each training session alternates between high intensity workouts and recovery workouts for 20 to 60 minutes. The goal of a HIT program is to push you to work out to your perceived limitations when you can’t possibly perform another repetition while maintaining good form. This type of training helps you reach a new level of fitness.
While high intensity training used to be performed only by athletes, more and more fitness enthusiasts are trying it. Also studies show that some people with chronic health problems, like heart disease, diabetes, stroke, arthritis, pulmonary disease and Parkinson’s disease, can benefit from a HIT program as well.
Benefits of High Intensity Training
Some benefits you can gain from high intensity training include:
- Increased metabolism. A HIT routine speeds up your metabolic rate, boosting your metabolism during the next 24 hours after your workout. So you’ll burn fat long after you leave the gym.
- Stimulates the production of human growth hormone (HGH). Not only does HGH increase your metabolism, it encourages the development of lean muscle mass and slows down the aging process.
- Strengthens your heart. HIT pushes your heart rate which boosts your cardiovascular system.
Risks of High Intensity Training
While HIT offers you many benefits, medical experts say it can also increase your risk of injury. High intensity training can cause you to push too far at too fast a pace, increasing your chance of injury.
Several studies have found that 19% to 73% of HIT participants sustain injuries during training. The most common injuries are to the shoulder, lower back and knee. Most of these injuries are due to overuse and the person continuing to exercise even when he/she is fatigued. Once a person becomes fatigued, their form and technique in performing the exercise deteriorates, leading to injury.
Part of the issue with an increased risk of injuries is the fact that many instructors/trainers at HIT facilities may not be trained as well as they should to spot issues in a person’s form and technique. If the person continues to perform with poor form and technique, it can lead to repetitive stress on the muscles and ligaments which can result into a more serious injury.
Some things you can do to help minimize your risk of injury from high intensity training, include:
- Talk to your doctor before starting a HIT program. Tell your doctor exactly what your exercise routine will be, so your doctor can make sure you’re ready for that level of activity.
- Make sure your trainer is well trained in HIT form and technique (namely, training for a few years instead of a few days or weeks).
- Know when your body is telling you enough is enough. There is a difference between muscle soreness and the pain from injury. Pain is your body’s way of telling you something is not right.
- Don’t increase your activity level too quickly – that’s when overuse injuries can occur.
Foot Pain Is Not Normal during High Intensity Training
Another way you can reduce your risk of injury from HIT is to wear custom orthotics like ezWalker® Custom Fit Orthotics, ezRunner® Custom Fit Orthotics or ezCycler® Breakway Fit Orthotics, depending upon the activity you’re performing during your high intensity training program. WalkEZStore custom orthotic devices are designed for each of your feet to ensure you receive maximum support of your feet’s arches. Our custom orthotics guide your feet into proper biomechanical position, correcting any imbalances in your feet to help increase your performance level and reduce pain during physical activity. Additionally, WalkEZStore custom orthotic devices reduce shock and stress on your feet and body while working out, helping to prevent injuries.
Because … when your feet feel good, you feel good.®
Note: If you experience pain during your high intensity training program, see your doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment. Continued pain may be a sign of a more serious problem.
Disclaimer: The information included in this article is for educational purposes only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.