HIIT is good for broken hearts

27 March 2017 Author: Peter Rana

Getting in the “zone”.

In the 1950s cardiac patients were told that rest was the key to recovery. From the late 1960s to the turn of the century, the benefits of aerobic exercise were espoused – conditioning the heart to do work with less effort. “The goal is to raise and sustain that elevated heart rate in what we call a training heart rate zone,” says Dr Jonathon Whiteson, Medical Director for Cardiac Rehabilitation at the NYU Langone Medical Center.

But now, High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) has become one of the most popular methods for patients to reach higher heart rate targets that stimulate cardiovascular improvement, but with a substantially lower time commitment and reduced exercise volume. 

Time to HIIT the gym.

Last year ExerScience Clinic manager Eleanor Nattrass and I had the good fortune to visit several medical institutions in the USA – the Mayo Clinic being one – renowned for their expertise in cardiac rehabilitation. What we learned was that HIIT was the most popular protocol used for those diagnosed with heart attack or heart failure. The Clinical Exercise Physiologists at the University of New Mexico Hospital informed us that they’ve been rehabbing with HIIT for the best part of a decade. What’s even more encouraging is that among the several thousand patients who have gone through Mayo’s 36-week programme, they’ve never had a single event during HIIT. 

So if you find it hard to align with the American College of Sports Medicine’s recommendation of 150 minutes of exercise a week, perhaps you should cut your cardio workouts in half with BodyTech’s HIIT Fast Cardio training routines.