High-intensity interval training (HIIT), also called high-intensity intermittent exercise (HIIE) or sprint interval training (SIT), is a form of interval training, a cardiovascular exercise strategy alternating short periods of intense anaerobic exercise with less intense recovery periods, until too exhausted to continue.
Wait a minute. I have an advanced version of ALS— amyotrophic lateral sclerosis— how can I get involved in HIIT exercise training?
It’s just like how Post-it Notes were invented. Inadvertently.
Dr. Spencer Silver, a chemist at 3M Company, invented a unique, low-tack adhesive that would stick to things but also could be repositioned multiple times. He was trying to invent a super-strong adhesive, but he came up with a super-weak one instead
It took years to catch on but Post-it Notes are famous and useful.
So, what’s the benefit of a HIIT exercise regimen for someone with ALS? The key is to use muscles that are not getting used much. That means stretches and some degree of exercise. Both combine to improve oxygenation (help to remove CO2 from blood and improve oxygen flow).
The problem I ran into was that just going through the motions of exercises and stretches did not increase heart rate very much. So, somewhat inadvertently, I upped the intensity and frequency of certain exercises; squats, bends, biking, even tiptoes— most while holding onto my roller walker’s handlebars.
That meant that muscles were getting used more but in a shorter period of time. It was difficult and more tiring at first but in less than a week I could feel a difference; both in breathing effort and mobility, plus heart rate and recovery rate increased and improved, respectively.
The result? I feel better. I move better.
HIIT exercises are not for everyone but a regimen can be modified to be beneficial almost regardless of physical circumstances.
I’m a HIIT man.