High-intensity interval training (HIIT) has received recognition as an effective method of improving various aspects of fitness.
If you do not get the proper rest, the intense workout could result in elevated levels of cortisol within the bloodstream and increased signs of physical stress even when no exercise is being carried out.
What is HIIT?
If you’re riding the Peloton bike, performing a YouTube exercise, or even attending classes in the fitness center, the chances are you’ve heard about, or perhaps even tried HIIT.
A HIIT exercise comprises short bursts of intense exercise lasting anywhere between 10 and 60 seconds and then followed by an active recuperation of that duration or more.
This process of intense work and recovery can be repeated between 3 and 10 times, based on the intensity of the workout.
Positive physiological effects of the HIIT program include increased metabolism post-exercise and improved body composition and an improvement in fasting blood glucose levels and insulin sensitivities.
Due to the advantages gained in just a few workouts, HIIT has gained a name as a “magic pill” of exercise.
If you do HIIT, you can observe changes within a couple of weeks. You’ll walk away after your workouts feeling increased efficiency and strength.
It takes only a few minutes to feel the increased levels of energy. It is influenced by a change of hormones, including cortisol.
How do you define cortisol?
Cortisol is among the numerous hormones that our bodies produce to deal with stress.
When you engage in HIIT when the brain is alerted to the stress level, and a series of hormones are released, including cortisol. Cortisol’s release activates the sympathetic nervous system and triggers a fight-or-flight reaction.
Historically, this sympathetic nervous system reaction to danger was crucial to our survival early on and provided our bodies with the energy and the ability to defend themselves or flee if needed.
Cortisol plays a role in causing changes in the body’s physiological system, including the rapid breakdown of carbohydrates and fats and an increase in blood sugar levels for instant energy and also repressing the immune system to concentrate the body’s energy and focus it on the life-threatening task in front of us.