Try HIIPA In Your HIIT Workout Plan
You’ve heard of High Intensity Interval Training and might want to create a HIIT Workout Plan, but it’s likely to fail simply because it’s simply too demanding. Try science-supported HIIPA instead.
HIIPA is “the new exercise trend that’s made for everyone”, says Science Daily, because it brings your HIIT workout plan into your daily life.
HIIPA, HIIT… what the heck am I talking about?
Well, although the acronym might be unfamiliar, you most likely have heard about High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), but news about HIIPA over the last few weeks might have escaped your notice.
HIIPA stands for “High Intensity Incidental Physical Activity”, and it’s the exercise trend for people who don’t have enough time to go to the gym, nor have the capacity (yet) to weather the storm that is properly performed high intensity interval training.
Why might you be interested in HIIPA as your new HIIT workout plan?
Three fundamental reasons:
- You can easily incorporate HIIPA into activities you already do.
- Regular, consistent exercise slows down aging, and HIIPA just might enable you to stay on the exercise bandwagon.
- A HIIPA-HIIT workout plan is simple to put together and execute
Let’s dig into each.
What Is HIIPA and How It Can Become Your New HIIT Workout Plan
To give some perspective about HIIPA, a review of what it could replace might be helpful.
HIIT Is Too Hard For Most
High intensity interval training is hard, very hard if done properly. There are different methods and different exercises appropriate for HIIT, but they all share the common denominator of doing bursts of exercise quickly that make you gasp for breath, followed by an “active rest” period during which you recover a bit before doing that “burst” again.
Dr. Joseph Mercola and Dr. Phil Campbell helped popularize a method of HIIT that I call “Bust Your Butt 8“, because over the course of eight sets of 30 seconds of all-out effort and 90 seconds of rest, plus two minutes of warm-up and warm-down — 20 minutes in total — you bust your butt, sorta speak.
As with other HIIT techniques, the Mercola/Campbell method received a lot of attention due to its capacity to build lean muscle, improve cardiovascular health and boost human growth hormone.
OK, that’s great, but the problem with Bust Your Butt 8 and similar HIIT programs is that they’re intense and hard to do. The bottom line is that HIIT will overwhelm most of us, and therefore this sort of exercise is unlikely to be done with the consistency requited to reap the benefits offered.
In contrast to ass-whupping HIIT, High Intensity Incidental Physical Activity is easier to tolerate and more accessible, because it amplifies what you may already be doing as you move about your everyday life.
HIIPA is any movement you can do that elevates your heart rate (pulse).
A typical day of HIIPA activities would consist of three to five short (0.5–10 minute) sporadic bouts of relatively high-intensity physical activity (e.g., climbing stairs, walking briskly, shoveling snow) spread out across the entire day.
Dr. Emmanuel Stamatakis, Professor of Physical Activity, Lifestyle, and Population Health at the University of Sydney’s Centre and School of Public Health, says:
Regular incidental activity that gets you huffing and puffing even for a few seconds has great promise for health.
Similarly to doing a HIIT workout composed of a series of short bursts of high-intensity cardio-respiratory exertion followed by a period of recovery during , cobbling together several short bursts of high-intensity effort throughout the day can have similar psychological and physical health benefits.
These short bursts can include:
- Swiftly climbing stairs instead of using an escalator.
- Parking a quarter-mile (400 meters) from your destination and then walking quickly to it.
- Walking up hills and not on level ground.
- Getting up every hour and doing a two-minute burst of squats, burpees, jumping jacks, jumping rope — any activity that will leave you breathless. (Tip: set your cell phone to chime every hour to remind you.)
The Science Behind HIIPA
The British Journal of Sports Medicine recently published a study done in Australia headed by Dr. Stamatakis.
The study asserts that:
- The typical middle-aged Australian woman (60% of whom are overweight and/or unfit), activities like running and playing with children at children’s pace, walking uphill or riding home from work all expend well over six times as much energy per minute than when at rest.
- Significant health benefits could be gained by doing three to five brief HIIPA sessions totalling as little as five to 10 minutes a day, most days of the week.
Back to Dr. Stamatakis, who says:
There is a lot of research telling us that any type of HIIT, irrespective of the duration and number of repetitions is one of the most effective ways to rapidly improve fitness and cardiovascular health and HIIPA works on the same idea
HIIPA Exercises Slows Down Aging
Among many studies on how consistent exercise affects aging, researchers at the University of Birmingham and King’s College London have found that staying active keeps the body young and healthy.
Their aim was to assess the health of older adults who had exercised most of their adult lives to see if this could slow down aging. As summarized by Science Daily, a group of older people (57 to 80 years old) who have exercised all of their lives were compared to a group of similarly aged adults and younger adults (20 to 36 years old) who do not exercise regularly.
The results showed that those who have exercised regularly have defied the aging process, having the immunity, muscle mass, and cholesterol levels of a young person.
Another notable outcome:
The thymus, which makes immune cells called T cells, starts to shrink from the age of 20 and makes fewer T cells. In this study, however, the thymuses of exercisers were making as many T cells as those of a young person.
Your HIIPA-HIIT Workout Plan
What differentiates the these two exercise regimens are the:
- Amount of time spent doing the exercise,
- Exercise intensity, and
- Exercise choice.
I listed above four “short bursts” of exercises you can do that qualify as part of either a HIIPA or HIIT workout, depending on amount of time doing them and how intensely they’re performed.
Take stair climbing for instance.
A HIIT workout using stairs might look like this:
- Walk or run up as many stairs as you can for 30 seconds.
- Walk down the stairs for 90 seconds.
- Repeat the sequence eight times.
A HIIPA workout using stairs might look like this:
- Walk up the stairs at a pace enough to make you breathe hard for 10 minutes.
- Over the course of the day, do it again a few times, or
- Do a similarly taxing movement for 10 minutes, such as walk up a hill.
I do both HIIT and HIIPA-type exercises, the latter typically done throughout the day, as described by #4 in the “short bursts” above:
“Getting up every hour and doing a two-minute burst of squats, burpees, jumping jacks, jumping rope — any activity that will leave you breathless.”
When my cell phone chimes, I push myself away from the desk and do any assortment of exercises, particularly those that can shore up some deficient in strength or body composition.
For instance, as we age, our butts tend to sag. Even if aesthetic ain’t your thing, a saggy butt is a weak butt, and a weak butt compromises your ability to squat and move quickly.
Remedy: A few times a day do lunges, stability ball bridges or sumo squats for two minutes each, or move between movements for a total of two minutes or more.
More HIIPA Exercises
If you can’t incorporate HIIPA into current lifestyle activities, consider doing one or more of the following exercises that were put together by Self.com. They strung them all together into a HIIT program, but you can choose to do two or more during your two to ten minutes of HIIPA activity a day, several times a day.
These are the ones I suggest you try, depending on your ability:
- Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-distance apart.
- Bend your knees and sit your butt back, keeping your chest upright.
- Jump up into the air as high as you can. Land softly and immediately lower into the next rep.
- Start standing with your feet hip-distance apart and bring your palms to the floor.
- Jump your feet back so that you are in high plank, keeping your core tight and your hips lifted.
- Bend your elbows and do 1 push-up, either regular, on your knees, or skip it all together if needed.
- Now jump your feet to the outside of your hands. As you stand up, explode up and jump as high as you can, bringing your arms overhead.
Alternating Side Lunge
- Start standing with your feet together.
- Step your left foot out to the left. Keep your right leg straight and bend your left knee.
- Step your left foot back to standing, and repeat, stepping out with your right foot this time.
- Continue switching back and forth.
How many of these you do, or the time spent on each, or the combination you string together depends on your capacity and goals:
- If your intention is to do six or more combinations a day, start with two-minute sessions.
- If your intention is to do just three or four per day, work up to ten minutes, but in this case you’ll need to take a break every two minutes or so.
Recruit A Friend
I mention this a lot, because it can make a difference between doing something new until it’s an ingrained habit, or never getting started.
Surely you know someone who complains about being out of shape or not fit. Grab that person and challenge him/her to join you with your HIIPA-HIIT workout plan.
Engage in friendly competition, such as minutes per session or total minutes per day or week. I assure you that this can make the all the difference in the world.
HIIPA is gaining popularity at just the right time, considering many people aren’t meeting the current American guidelines, which call for adults to complete 150 to 300 minutes of moderate physical activity, or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous activity, per week.
Only 26% of men and 19% of women are meeting that benchmark, according to research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association last year with the updated physical activity guidelines.
Don’t be among them!
Rather than biting off more than you can chew with a HIIT workout plan, try something you’ll be willing to do consistently long-term — a HIIPA program that either:
- Amplifies what you already do day-to-day, such as walk or climb stairs; and/or
- Adds some large muscle group exercises done over short bouts of time that will leave you breathless, such as the few demonstrated above.
Have fun, get fit, live long and strong.