H”IT”ting the Barriers for Exercising During Social Isolation

Aerobic exercise is traditionally recommended to improve general health and prevent many non-communicable diseases. However, the measures adopted to control the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak culminated with closing of exercise facilities and fitness centers and, as a primary consequence, impaired aerobic exercise practice. This contributed to an increase in risk factors associated with physical inactivity such as insulin resistance, high blood pressure, low-grade inflammation, weight gain, and mental health problems. The scenario is worrisome, and it is important to propose alternatives for exercise practice during the COVID-19 pandemic. Interval training (IT) emerges as an exercise mode that might be feasible, low-cost, and potentially safe to be performed in many different places. IT consists of interspersing relative brief bouts of high-intensity exercise with recovery periods and promotes similar or greater health benefits when compared to moderate-intensity continuous exercise. Among the different types of IT, sprint interval training and “Tabata protocols” might be particularly useful during social isolation. These protocols can be controlled and performed without the need of complex equipment and can be adapted to different places, including domestic environments. In this article, we present variations of IT as possible alternatives to cope physical inactivity during COVID-19 pandemics with a focus on its practical applications. The protocols suggested can be performed without the need of specialized equipment or facilities, in a time-efficient manner, and aiming to prevent detraining or even improve physical fitness and general health.

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