Alpine Skiing: A Form of HIIT
This study looked at the applicability of HIIT for use in patients with increased risk of Cardio-respiratory events in cold, winter climates. The researchers wanted to look at how HIIT could be used to improve cardio-respiratory risk (CRR) factors through alpine skiing; an activity common in northern and colder climates where running and cycling may not be able to be done year-round. People with CRR are often less physically active and expend less energy than their peers, and is only exacerbated in the winter months (we hear stories of someone having a heart attack while shoveling snow which gives us trepidation about venturing out in the snow to get something done).
Alpine skiing could be a solution.
The interval, or the downhill, is where the work happens, and the chairlift up is the rest. While chairlift wait times can be longer than a normal interval rest, the argument is that you are usually on the hill longer than you are usually exercising on the exercise bike or out on the cross country trails (total time spent doing the activity). As well, intensity can easily be altered by changing the number of turns per minute (more turns on the hill means higher intensity). The researchers compared the energy output between indoor cycling, cross country skiing, and alpine skiing, and found that while alpine had the lowest energy expenditure as a base, yet when matched for intensity of interval training (changing heart rate and number of turns per minute), alpine was just as good as cycling or cross country, without putting the same strain on the heart as them.
Alpine skiing may be a way to improve the health of people with CRR and is a novel form of exercise that promotes HIIT in winter environments.
Related Article: Get Outside and Exercise – Your Immune System Will Thank You
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