You’ve Done HIIT, Learn About HIIPA

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) isn’t for everyone. Whether you lack the ability or simply just don’t want to do it. But if you are looking to improve your health and wellness in a short amount of time, you may feel like HIIT is the only way to do it.

Well, I’m here to tell you all about HIIPA and how it may be the exercise revolution you need to kickstart your healthy lifestyle changes.


HIIPA stands for high-intensity incidental physical activity (HIIPA). Now, that’s quite the string of words, so let’s break them down, starting with “incidental physical activity.”

When you are engaged in incidental physical activity, that is defined as a type of activity you would normally do over the course of your regular life. It isn’t anything you are specifically doing as exercise.

Some simple examples of incidental physical activity are:

  • Going up a flight of stairs
  • Grocery shopping
  • Sweeping the floor

Lower intensity physical activities such as typing at a computer do not fall under HIIPA. That’s where the high-intensity part comes in. Only activities which can raise your heart rate would be classified as high-intensity incidental physical activities.

New Research Supports Shorter Activity With HIIPAs

Now, doing simple things like walking up stairs or carrying your grocery bags may not seem like much. At least, not when it comes to what most of us think exercise should look like. However, a recent study has found that for those who are relatively inactive, even short bursts of physical activity can help improve their overall health.

In fact, a majority of the benefit of focusing on HIIPA is the fact that most American adults are very inactive. Those inactivity levels may not have much of an impact when you are young, but around middle-age and beyond, the effects of physical inactivity are more serious. This can often lead to a considerable amount of health complications.

With HIIPA, those who are generally inactive can find easy ways to bring higher levels of activity into their lives. This means you won’t be needing to buy any specific workout gear, from equipment to fancy running shorts.

Should You Focus On HIIT Or HIIPA?

Okay, now that we are clear on what HIIPA is, how do you know if HIIPA or HIIT is what you need?

HIIT is also good for those who want to pack in a good workout in little time like HIIPA is, but with HIIT you will be engaging in a concentrated form of exercise. When you focus on HIIPA, you will simply maximize the activities you already do every day.

To help you determine which is right for you, here are a couple of questions to ask yourself:

What is your current activity level?

As you answer this question, don’t include what you think your current activity level should be. Instead, be very honest with yourself and only include what you are doing now. Do your days consist of a sedentary job followed by sedentary recreational activities and no regular exercise routine? Then it is likely HIIPA is best for you to start engaging in more activity.

If you have a regular workout routine but aren’t making as much progress as you hoped, then you may want to focus on HIIT. That way, you can build off of your current exercise levels and start to see the results you were looking for.

How old are you?

While this may sound like a rude question, it is important. For those who are sedentary as well as middle-aged or older, starting up a high-intensity workout routine can be physically dangerous. By easing into exercise with HIIPA, you can work up to more intense exercise without overtaxing your body.

Younger people who are sedentary can also benefit from HIIPA. According to a study with young adult participants, these sedentary young adults were able to improve their fitness levels by just engaging in three stair climbing sessions that occurred three days a week.

Ways You Can Bring HIIPA Into Your Daily Life

If you have determined that you can benefit from bringing HIIPA into your daily life, but want some ideas to help you know where to start pushing for higher intensity in your activities, here are a few places to start:

  • Go upstairs quickly – If you haven’t already started taking the stairs instead of elevators and escalators, then that’s one of the first places you can start. Once you have gotten into the routine of taking the stairs, increase your speed on your way up. A reminder though, you should be careful on the way down. Even short stair climbing sessions can help elevate your heart rate and improve your cardiovascular health.
  • Engage in energetic chores – Basic household chores such as cleaning and picking up can be turned into HIIPA exercises. All you need to do is put in a little more energy when doing these chores. Making an upbeat playlist can also help make them both a bit more fun and faster paced.
  • Walk briskly on errands – Whether you are making a stop by the post office or grocery shopping, moving at a brisk pace is a great way to engage in HIIPA. You may need to start slowly, especially if you struggle with joint issues. As you build up your pace, you may find you enjoy your errands more as it acts a positive physical release.
  • Park further back – Most of us have spent time circling parking lots looking for the closest parking spots. Instead of doing this, you can simply park near the back of a lot. You can have a slightly longer walk and a much easier time parking!

By adding some deliberate HIIPA to your life, and maybe some quick and easy stretches, you can start being more active on a daily basis and improve your overall health and wellness.  

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