How High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) can benefit dental hygienists

January 12, 2015
Anthony DiNobile
Anthony DiNobile

Issue 12

You're probably thinking, “No! Not another article on exercise.” Well, yes, but cardio in particular … High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) cardio to be exact. I think we all know that exercise is beneficial and a body that moves heals faster than a body that does not.

You're probably thinking, “No! Not another article on exercise.” Well, yes, but cardio in particular … High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) cardio to be exact. I think we all know that exercise is beneficial and a body that moves heals faster than a body that does not.

In addition, it lowers stress, releases endorphins, improves mood, and, post-workout, engages the parasympathetic (rest and digest) nervous system. And, with the holidays rapidly approaching, keeps the pounds off.

HIIT involves short sessions of high-intensity effort followed by longer lower-intensity effort recovery times. The intense work periods may range from 5 seconds to 8 minutes long, and are performed at 80% to 95% of a person’s estimated maximum heart rate. There are several benefits to this method, but what I find the most intriguing are these two:

1. HIIT cardio, even done in shorter periods than 'steady state' cardio, burns more calories overall. A study was done where a mere eight sprints burned more overall calories than 50 minutes of steady state cardio.

2. I teach HIIT on an elliptical or stationary bike, adding a resistance element with hip flexion, to retain muscle. I do not recommend a treadmill because there is no hip flexion.

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Let's take a closer look at the how the benefits of HIIT relate to dental hygienists:

-Better focus and mental clarity when working with your patients.

-More energy in your fast-paced environment.

-Better sleep, waking up refreshed and recovered ready to take on the day's challenges.

-Being on your feet all day, more endurance for removing tartar, stains, plaque, and applying sealants and fluorides.

Regardless what your current fitness level (beginner, intermediate, or advanced), a HIIT workout would look like this:

First, calculate your max heart rate. For this example, take 220 – your age.

Beginner: 3 intervals

5 minute warm up

:30 high intensity (60% max heart rate)

2:00 low intensity (40-50% max heart rate)

5 minute warm down

Intermediate: 4-5 intervals

5 minute warm up

:30 high intensity (70% max heart rate)

2:00 low intensity (40-50% max heart rate)

5 minute warm down

Advanced: 6-7 intervals

5 minute warm up

:30 high intensity (80% max heart rate)

2:00 low intensity (40-50% max heart rate)

5 minute warm down

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Interval training is becoming an increasingly recognized and well-liked method of training. Incorporating interval training into a general conditioning program will optimize the development of cardiorespiratory fitness as well as numerous other health benefits. Give HIIT a try.

Author’s Note: Before beginning any exercise regimen, make sure you seek out medical evaluation and clearance.

Anthony DiNobile is a Certified Holistic Nutritionist and Certified Personal Trainer. He is also the owner of All In Fitness & Wellness in Gilbert, Ariz., and competitive vegan bodybuilder. He loves to enlighten people on the joys of food, health, and nutrition and fitness. When he’s not working with food, speaking to groups about holistic nutrition and health, or managing All In Fitness & Wellness, you can usually find Anthony with his dogs Holly, Olive, Roxy and Vera, or with his wife, Kirstin, who is a Certified Holistic Nutritionist and owner of Nourish restaurant. He even rides his motorcycle from time to time.