Science and Journalism in Society

Brandeis University JOUR 130B

Author: Jin Rong Pan

What We Do Not Know About HIIT

I’ve been working out for only 20 minutes and yet every square inch of my body is sweating excessively. I’m not sure if my legs can make one more kick because they are shaking uncontrollably. I had just suffered my way through a session of high-intensity interval training, or HIIT.

HIIT compresses an hour or more of traditional exercise into a few minutes of high-intensity training per session followed by a short active recovery period. Studies have shown better improvements in cardiovascular health, metabolic capacity and aerobic fitness for those that participate in HIIT than those seen in continuous moderate-intensity exercise.

Effective HIIT training will help you burn more calories, build lean muscle, lose fat, improve heart health, and increase efficiency. But while the benefits of HIIT are plentiful, there are still plenty of myths out there that will affect your performance.


Myth 1: Everyone is fit for the HIIT workout.

Just like you would not run a marathon without training, you probably shouldn’t over exert yourself on your first HIIT workout either to avoid risk of injuries and muscle soreness. It is better to slowly ease yourself into the HIIT routine. It is better to start with low-intensity aerobic exercise and slowly work build up the strength to do a full HIIT workout.


Myth 2: HIIT is the only exercise you need to lose weight.

Although it is true that a well-designed training program triggers excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, also known as after burn, you will make better progress if you mix traditional strength training with it.


Myth 3: The longer, the better; the more, the better.

A long workout does not necessarily define it as a good one. It must also be efficient to achieve the maximum health benefits. HIIT pushes you to 90% of your maximum heart rate with limited resting time within 20 minutes. This exercise pushes your body hard, so it is important to allow for plenty of recovery time between workouts.




Is Alcohol Really That Bad?

Alcohol has helped to shape American culture and will continue to do so. Often in America, people use alcohol as a social lubricant or a way to wind down at the end of the day. Many studies have found that moderate drinking can offer substantial health benefits across all ages. The American Heart Association published a study called “Wine and Your Heart” showing an inverse association between moderate drinking and risk of heart attacks, ischemic stroke, and death all from cardiovascular causes. However, the key word is moderate!

Recently, there has been a considerab­le increase in binge drinking, with as many as 32% of Americans reporting occasional bingeing. Binge drinking is defined as episodic excessive drinking. This typically happens when men consume five or more drinks, or when women consume four or more drinks in about two hours. Binge drinking has been related to serious pathological effects in different organ systems. In the cardiovascular system, binge drinking has been linked to higher levels of cerebral bleeds, death from coronary artery disease, and strokes. In the gastrointestinal system, pancreatic cancer was found to be more common in binger drinkers than compared to nondrinkers. Furthermore, binge drinking goes beyond organ damage. Binge drinking is correlated most highly with violent injuries. Suicide rates among binge drinkers is six times that of moderate alcohol consumers.

Binge drinking has been shown to have serious effects on the human body. Although alcohol has certain benefits to health when people drink and meet the definition of moderate, there are still no public health guidelines that encourage people to start drinking.

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