Nine Lifestyle Interventions – #1 High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)


While it may appear that health issues such as chronic pain, back pain, migraines, and fibromyalgia have different causes, research is increasingly showing the importance of the interconnectedness of the systems within the body – and recognising that inflammation lies at the root of many of these issues 1.

Inflammatory bowel disease can actually cause back pain, sometimes due to inflammation of the surrounding nerve tissues 2.

There are many lifestyle strategies which can be put into place when considering how to reduce inflammation, often involving simple changes for potentially great health gains.

What is High Intensity Interval Training?

The health benefits of regular exercise have long been known, however many people find it challenging to fit exercise into their lives. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) provides an excellent option for those short on time or motivation, as it takes very little time to achieve a highly beneficial workout.

HIIT involves short bursts of intense activity followed by a brief period of rest; a pattern which is then repeated over a relatively short period of around 20 minutes. With the aim of completing a workout only two or three times per week for maximum benefit, it’s a form of exercise that is easily achievable and available to people of any fitness level.

Health Benefits of HIIT

HIIT is great for overall health. For starters, this form of workout has been shown to help reduce fat3, improve insulin sensitivityand improve blood sugar regulation5.

HIIT can also bring about changes to your DNA which, put simply, positively impact how well your body functions6. HIIT also boosts the all-important human growth hormone, which is important for cell repair and metabolism, among other things7.

What does a HIIT Workout look like?

The great thing about HIIT is that you can choose the way in which you implement a HIIT workout. Simply elect a form of exercise which, when done at high intensity, will puff you out. It’s best to choose something that doesn’t require a lot of resistance, such as walking, running, swimming or cycling, as you will be able to move at a higher speed and maximise the benefits of the workout. We recommend low impact exercises to avoid injury.

For beginners and those with average fitness, a simple, effective HIIT workout can look like this:

  1. Complete a short warm up for a few minutes – such as a light spin on a stationary bike
  2. Exercise at a high intensity – i.e. as fast as you can – for 30 seconds. (You’ll know you’ve hit the mark if you reach the end of the 30-second period and feel that you can’t continue any longer.)
  3. Undertake the same activity at a much slower pace for 90 seconds as a recovery.
  4. Repeat this 120-second rotation until you’ve completed it six – eight times.
  5. Cool down for a few minutes afterwards.

For those finding the workout difficult, begin with less than eight rotations, and build up to repeating the high/low intensity sequence eight times as your fitness improves. To make the workout slightly harder, breathing only through your nose can be an additional element to add.

Those with a high level of fitness may like to try a more challenging HIIT routine such as the Tabata method6, which involves 20 seconds of what they call “all-out drop-dead effort” followed by just 10 seconds of rest, repeated eight times.

Of course, if you have any medical concerns or pre-existing health conditions, please obtain clearance from a health professional before pursuing this form of exercise.

You’ll find lots more information about the science behind our important wellbeing and lifestyle strategies including cutting edge developments, by checking out our ADAPT-Ability Workshop.

Adapt-Ability Workshop

If you’re interested in learning more about how to improve your adaptability, come to one of our regular Adapt-Ability Workshops (offered online during COVID-19).

  • We look at how to improve the function of the autonomic nervous system (ANS) and make it more adaptive to our life.
  • We discuss how our genetic makeup has largely come from generations as a hunter gather. During this period we required a far greater adaptive range to the elements. There is constant exposure, sometime food scarcity, a diverse amount of required movement etc.
  • We’ll show you how to proactively manage your current and future health through simple and measurable strategies, including measuring your heart rate variability (HRV).
  • We’ll help you apply 9 Lifestyle Interventions, including interval training, that can be adapted to suit your individual situation.
  • You’ll also learn how to measure the effectiveness of those interventions on your overall wellbeing.


  3. Journal of Obesity vol 2012 (April 6, 2012)
  4. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, Oct 2011
  5. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, Oct 2011
  6. Cell Metabolism March 7, 2012: 15(3);405-411
  8. The Guardian March 24, 2013

DISCLAIMER: All content is created and published online for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice and should not be relied on as health or personal advice. Always seek the guidance of your doctor or other qualified health professional with any questions you may have regarding your health or a medical condition.

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