In a perfect world, one could workout at any level and at any age without having to be concerned over the possibility that an injury could happen at any moment. Indeed, the thought of being immune to accidents is both tantalizing and imaginative, but when you come back down to reality, the real thought that lingers is the thought of how not having a safe method for your workout is sickening and frightful. Particularly, because high intensity interval training involves so much of your effort that you have to really engage your body. However, much like any form of exercise, sport or activity – each have their own vulnerabilities. HIIT is no different and its issues are much like those of any other form of training. So we must highlight where you can can actually harm yourself with high intensity interval training and what you can do about it to protect yourself.
Talk To A Physician First
Sometimes you’re really just not sure if you can do high intensity training. Perhaps it’s because there really are not that many workout programs much like it. HIIT is like cardio fitness class at your local gym times 10 on the intensity scale. It’s because of this intensity that it’s wise to seek advisement with your physician who can judge based on your health needs whether or not you can keep up with the program from a physical standpoint. A doctor should be able to gauge whether or not your body will be at risk. However, don’t let all this physician talk scare you off. It really is just so you can make a better and informed decision for yourself and what you’re capable of.
Pick Your Intensity Carefully
High Intensity Interval
Training has different levels of intensity. Confused? Ok, well here’s how it goes. HIIT may come off with the perception as only being an athletes only training program, but in reality it is a fitness program that almost anyone can do. You can be overweight and attempt HIIT (so long as there are no medical restrictions) just as much as you can be a top athletic condition. In fact, HIIT is great for those who want to lose weight. The real question that you have to ask yourself is how intense should your workout be. Look at it this way, if someone feels that doing planks for 20 seconds is easy, another person may find that extremely hard. You can see that intensity is very much a subjective measure based on your bodies capabilities to perform. Now that doesn’t go to say that High Intensity Interval Training doesn’t follow a structure – it does! And it’s within that structure that you plan and coordinate exercises that will help you reach a high intensity based on your capabilities. So what does that mean? It means that you have to pick an intensity level that is both challenging to you but within the capabilities to complete the workout. You figure this out based on starting with exercises that you’re familiar with and therefore can judge based on the workout requirements whether or not you’ll be able to complete it. Afterwards work your way up if you find it easy after awhile.
Perfect Technique Before Speed
Yes, it’s better to start with exercises that you’re familiar with because you’ll know how to do them correct. Even though HIIT is built on speed, you have to spend a good amount of time performing the actual exercises correctly and consistently. When you complete a few rounds of HIIT you’ll start to notice that you’re going to want to rush through the exercise. Yet, you’ll end up doing more harm then good as you may begin to do exercises incorrectly. It’s not uncommon and is completely normal,; the body will change it’s though from doing the correct method to simply just rushing through the exercise to get closer to that break or end. Incorrect ways of doing exercises results in injured bones that will creep up on you later on in life. Limit injuries by going a bit slower until you feel comfortable enough to increase the speed.
Always Be Nourished And Fuel Up, Read To Go
Don’t do HIIT on an empty stomach, or even worse dehydrated – the results will not be pretty. The energy you need to complete a high intensity workout is very high and you need every bit of energy you can salvage.
Keep Water Readily Available
Although this could have been put with being nourished and ready to go, having water readily available needed it’s own section because of the importance of hydration at all times. Having a water bottle near you is just a safe way of keeping you in the vicinity of source of water. With short rest periods this water is convenient and is quick to access, therefore you won’t affect your workout and you can still stay hydrated.
Wear Comfortable And Correct Clothing
You may be asking how can this affect my ability to perform? – you’d be very surprised. Many people actually don’t wear the correct clothing for this type of workout. Let’s blow your mind with how clothing really does affect you. Wearing tight clothing restricts your ability to perform the exercises at hand, in fact you’ll more than likely be bothered sometimes with the actual clothing that you wear that your technique and form will be off. Even though a tight shirt and tight shorts may come off as sexy to say the least, it can actually do more harm then good. Too tight and you’ll find that your body gets way to hot as air can’t circulate easily and if clothes too tight you can limit maximum potential of blood circulation. Shoes! don’t forget about them – it goes without saying, comfortable shoes that actually fit and are athletic shoes will prevent ankle injuries. At the pace that a HIIT workout is, you could easily tweak or even twist your ankle if your not in shoes that are actually designed for fitness. Shoes also need to be changed so that you have maximum support all the time.
Exercise in Comfortable Conditions
High intensity training can have your body heating up real fast. The best thing to do to avoid this is to workout out in conditions that are cool and air-conditioned, if inside. If you’re outside, then the best thing to do is to workout out early in the morning (just before the sun comes up) or in early evening (just after the sun goes down). For obvious reasons if you workout in very warm conditions you can expect your body to get dehydrated quite quickly. Harvard Medical school takes a look at more conditions that you may want to look at.
Stretch After Your Workouts
Some people believe that stretching before your workout is a good idea. Perhaps that may be true for other forms of fitness but with high intensity training that isn’t the case. Make no mistake when you do start your workout you do warm up, but warming up is not the same as stretching. A warm up for a HIIT workout is a 30 second to 1 minute jog or alternative light intensity exercise. It’s enough to get the heart rate building up and getting ready to get into the more intense workouts that will kick up your heart rate even more.
The best thing to take away from all this is that injuries happen if you’re not careful. Technique, hydration and creating an atmosphere are conducive to developing a safe environment for completing high intensity interval training. The only thing to do now is be HIIT fit!