Training regularly, no matter what the type of pace, is a superb way to make sure your body is well tuned. Important aspects of working out are highlighted below;

  • Improved heart health
  • Weight loss
  • Enhanced stamina
  • Refreshing and energizing
  • Keeps muscles strong

However, when talking about cardio training, there are two main forms that act as a way to maintain a healthy weight as well as heart. These are usually combined together with a nutritious diet for optimum results; however some may prefer one over the other. In this article we are going to explore both of these aspects of cardio and discuss their positive effects on your overall well-being, and ultimately see if one is more effective than the other.

High Intensity Workouts

HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training which means that in a general make-up of a session it would consist of about 5 to 10 minutes of on and off intense exercise. By lowering the speed in between the elevated level of effort needed to complete the movements, you will find that you are burning about as much calories and fat as longer but lower cardio. Here are a few of the positives that this type of training has on your body.

  • Quick exercises at higher effort
  • Easy to work into day to day life
  • No equipment necessary
  • Ability to mix-up the movements you do
  • Improved VO2 max
  • Matches regular cardio’s EPOC
  • Perceived to be better for heart health

Surveys suggest that most men and women enjoy HIIT training more than regular cardio activities as they are more convenient to carry out. With the freedom of being able to mix up your routine, you can choose what exercises and when you can fit them into your daily schedule. Only a few minutes a day are taken up by HIIT which makes it an excellent way to workout for those who are constantly on the go and still want to take care of their body. However, you will find that you need ample time to recover from this type of exercise compared to lower rate movements.

High VS Low Intensity Training VO2 MaxAs a larger amount of oxygen would be consumed during the higher intensity exercises, you will find that your VO2 is greatly improved. VO2 is the amount of oxygen you consume while taking part in intense training sessions. The better the VO2 a person has means that they are then able to work out intensely for a longer period of time due to training regularly at the higher pace. Comes with this is a better overall health for your body and studies have shown that people who partake in HIIT training have a higher VO2 to those who use low intensity workouts.

HIIT training is a flexible type of training which enables you to do it from the comfort of your own home or at the gym, depending on your preferences. There are mobile phone apps which help greatly with providing workout inspiration as well as the motivation to progress with the sessions. By keeping track of what you have completed, you are given the incentive to carry on and tick more off your list plus you get the opportunity to experiment with new routines and exercises.

This type of workout is believed to burn just as much fat as lower intensity cardio but in a shorter period of time. These exercises specifically target and burn fat in addition to increasing your oxygen intake. As it is perceived that the more oxygen you take in, the more calories you are burning. Also, the EPOC (Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption) is at the same level as regular cardio. This means that the amount of calories you burn after a 20 minute HIIT workout is believed to be the same as a 60 minute slower paced exercise.

Low Intensity Exercises 

Lower intensity exercises can be carried out for a longer period of time compared to HIIT, leading to a slower paced and easy to manage workout. Cardio exercises originally stemmed from aerobic workouts being measured on their effectiveness in the way they improved cardio vascular health, before being known as ‘cardio’. Some positive aspects of this way of training are listed below; 

  • Longer workouts at lower effort
  • Opens aerobic energy pathway
  • Routine movements
  • Gym classes or fitness applications
  • Can be done everyday
  • Perceived to be better for weight loss

By means of weight loss, calories and fat are burned when the aerobic energy pathway is active. This pathway uses stored sources of fat and converts it into fatty acids and oxygen, thus making the core source of energy your body need to burn calories. Scientists strongly believe that the best way to kick start the flow of this gateway is to take part in long duration low intensity exercises. Excellent examples of this type of workout is; jogging, cycling, swimming or even gym classes and activities such as Zumba.

One reason that men and women prefer this type of training compared to HIIT is that it is less strenuous on the body and can be done at any point in the day and multiple times a week. You can also take your time with these exercises, meaning that you will enjoy the routine more than a fast burst as you are able to join in with others. Going on a jog, walk, swim or gym class with one of your friends motivates you to progress as well as making you feel more relaxed and actually enjoy the training. 

Like HIIT, if you prefer to workout at home, mobile applications and YouTube videos along with fitness DVDs are a perfect source of LISS (Low Intensity Steady State). This part of the training is easier to perform at your earliest convenience as there is no travelling involved to the gym or swimming baths. A familiar surrounding is also likely to keep you feeling more at ease and able to work at your own pace. 

High Vs Low Intesity Training You Decide

After looking into these and comparing the different advantages, we conclude that as long as you maintain a healthy diet, either form of cardio will reap benefits for your body. High intensity intervals are more catered towards those looking for a more straight forward way to workout in their busy lifestyles. Whereas Lower intensity steady exercises are better for people who enjoy jogging, walking, swimming or classes that can easily incorporate them into their everyday life. Also, HIIT workouts are more aimed at burning calories and improving oxygen intake. However, lower intensity uses stored fat for energy, therefore enabling you to lose weight. Overall, both benefit your body internally, making sure your health is in check, but depending on what areas you want to focus on while training, it really is down to personal preference. 

This article was written for Sports Fitness by Loren Astbury. Show with us for all your workout gear including gym tights, exercise tops and accessories.