Healthy Heart Challenge: 10-Minute Low-Impact HIIT Workout

By the Editors of SilverSneakers |

Despite the name, high-intensity interval training, or HIIT, doesn’t need to feel intimidating or be hard on your joints. Today’s fun activity is proof!

Keep up with the 7-Day Healthy Heart Challenge here. 

When you hear the term high-intensity interval training — also known as a HIIT workout — it may sound like it’s too rigorous for you to try. But it’s not as breathless and joint-jolting as it may seem. HIIT workouts involve alternating short, intense bouts of activity with brief recovery periods, and it can be done with almost any type of exercise.   

If you’re a walker, for example, you could go at it hard for 20 seconds, walk more slowly for one minute, and then keep alternating that cycle for 20 minutes. Varying the intensity in this way helps you build strength, burn fat, and improve your cardiovascular fitness.  

Temporarily increasing your exercise intensity is good for your brain too. According to a study in the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, bursts of intensity followed by short periods of rest — the ingredients of a HIIT workout — can enhance the brain’s ability to adapt to change and helps with learning and memory function.

Concerned about how your joints may handle this extra effort? Not to worry. With slight modifications to keep the bouncing to a minimum, you can get all the benefits without straining your hips and knees. According to SilverSneakers LIVE trainer Shannon Thigpen, you can reap the rewards of more intensity in a way that’s safe, fun, and only takes 10 minutes. 

Check out today’s video (above), which is a workout sometimes called HILIT — or high-intensity low-impact training. It’s a great introduction to what high-intensity movement can do for your energy levels and overall health.  

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How to Use the 10-Minute Low-Impact HIIT Workout 

For today’s Healthy Heart Challenge workout, all you need is a pair of comfortable, supportive sneakers and some open floor space that gives you room to move. Set yourself up near a sturdy piece of furniture or wall if you’d like extra support. And have some water handy to sip on during your workout. 

As always, safety is key. Get your doctor’s OK before beginning a new exercise program. If you have a chronic condition (including osteoporosis), balance issues, or injuries, talk to your doctor about how you can exercise safely.   

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Thigpen suggests doing this workout two to three times a week. 

Love this and want more? Take a SilverSneakers LIVE Cardio Interval (Express) Class! 

This 15-minute athletic class will give your heart a boost with aerobic interval training. No equipment needed. View the schedule and RSVP here. 

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