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HIIPA: The New Fitness Acronym in Town

By Kate Gardner

The Centers for Disease Control recommends that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity every week. If you're like most Americans with work, school, family, or other obligations, working in that 150 minutes of activity can seem to be darn near impossible. This is partly because we tend to think working out is the only way to get our minutes, but research from the American College of Sports Medicine suggests we don't need to define physical activity so narrowly. The evidence suggests we can also count high intensity incidental physical activity. 


No, this isn't the HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) you hear about whenever you go to the doctor. We're talking about HIIPA -- high intensity incidental physical activity. An editorial in the British Journal of Sports Medicine defines HIIPA as the high-intensity activity we may do throughout the day as part of our normal lives. HIIPA works much the same way that HIIT (high intensity interval training) works. Shorter bouts of high intensity activity lead to increased cardiovascular fitness. The difference is that HIIT is a workout you must make time to do while HIIPA isn't. 

Incidental activity can be just about anything -- walking up stairs, carrying heavy objects, chasing after your toddler because she wants to play tag in the grocery store. It can be quick, lasting only a minute or two, or it can be longer. 

Making it Work for You

Getting healthy without working out sounds amazing, right? Researchers say the key to making it work is that the activity has to be high intensity. This means you have to really get your heart rate up. But, yay for us, they say you don't have to do it for that long. In considering how to make HIIPA work for people, they suggest "...a pattern of 3-5 short (30 seconds to 2 minutes) sporadic bouts of high relative intensity PA (physical activity) spread across a whole day." This means you can increase your cardiovascular health by getting your heart rate up for 2 minutes, three to five times a day! 

The possibilities are endless. You could pretend to jump rope, run, dance, take the stairs, hop like a bunny, or whatever works for you! And you can do it wherever you are, without the need for a gym or special equipment. HIIPA sounds like the perfect workout for our busy world. 

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, visit your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Dacula, Ga.

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