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Can HIIT workouts improve mental health?

"High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is essential in stimulating a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which is involved in mood regulation, cognitive function, and cell repair. Insufficient amounts of these proteins in the brain are associated with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and depression, which can affect mental health."


HIIT plays a vital role in maintaining mental fitness, combating stress, facilitating happiness, physiological wellbeing, and treating and preventing depression by increasing the levels of two main neurotransmitters, known as gamma aminobutyric acid and glutamates, which are essential for chemical messaging in the brain. High-energy exercise combines intense workouts with short recovery periods to improve endurance, build body strength, and burn calories within a short time. Here are some HIIT workouts that will make you feel good inside and outside.

Read also>>> What is HIIT and its benefits


Squatting is predominantly a leg workout. Apart from muscle growth, it builds confidence, promotes healthy posture, burns fat and calories, improves power production, and enhances stability. Performing squats is vital when it comes to optimal physical, emotional, and mental health and combating diseases.

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How to do HIIT squats

  • Bend the knees until it comes to a full squat

  • Jump as high as you can reaching the ceiling

  • Land gently with the lower back in a squat position to complete one cycle. Make sure the knees are not curved to avoid injuries.

  • Do many jumps to squat position as much as you can for about 30 min

Squats are a high-intensity workout that works on the hamstrings, quads, lower abs, and glutes. There are various types of squats such as weighted squat, box jump squat, single leg squat, frog squat, bicep curl squat, and prisoner squat. HIIT squats promote neurological signals that are necessary for the production of new healthy brain cells. These cells can facilitate overall cognitive function and improved critical thinking, which result in good mental health.



Burpees are a full-body, high-intensity workouts that engage the brain to coordinate with abrupt, changing movements that boost the endorphin hormone, facilitating overall brain functioning and improved blood flow. It has a brutal bodyweight that targets the arms, legs, glutes, chest, and core.

How to do high-Intensity burpees

  • Place your feet shoulder-width apart

  • Squat deeply and place the hands on the floor. Straighten the back to a push-up position

  • Return to a squat position and jump up with your hands above your head

  • Repeat the procedure as soon as you land with the knee bent

A HIIT burpee workout is a versatile exercise essential for building strength, endurance, burning calories, lowering blood pressure and risks of diabetes, and improving brain functioning. Burpees can be challenging, and that’s what makes it a highly effective workout that helps you build endurance, strength, and cardio fitness. If you are new to HIIT workouts or have a health condition, you should seek help from a certified personal trainer or healthcare provider to ensure that you have a safe burpee session.



Plank facilitates the production of endorphins, which make the body and mind feel better. It is also necessary for mood enhancement because it engages the stressed part of the body. Tension and strains, both physiological and mental, may stiffen up the shoulder, back, and neck.

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Planking squeezes the tension out of the big muscles where there is stress buildup, resulting in reduced anxiety, depression, and other mental disorders. HIIT is vital in reminding the body and brain to revitalize and relax.

How to do a plank

  • Get into a press-up position

  • Rest the weight of the body on the forearms and bend the elbows

  • Make sure the body is straight all the way from ankle to shoulder

  • To avoid arching the back, you should engage the core

  • Hold the position for the allotted time, engaging the glutes and core

  • Work up to 15, 30, 45, or 60 seconds over time

Planking is an effective way to improve endurance and body strength. It also works on the hamstrings, facilitates correct posture, and works the glutes. Plank involves full body resistance through the shoulder, hips, core, spine, and legs. The workout makes the bones and soft tissues denser and stronger around these areas.



It is a common HIIT workout and the most essential in stress management, brainpower boosting, calmer state of mind, and increased productivity. It controls stress by increasing the concentration of norepinephrine - a chemical vital for brain response to stress. A tough sprint result to improved brain-derived proteins which help with higher thinking, and decision making.

How to do it

  • Find a space about 15 meters long

  • Run as fast as you can to the end and back from where you started

  • Stay in control of the body all through the workout session

  • Repeat the movement of to and from for a period of time


Mountain climbers

Mountain climbers have shown reduced anxiety, stress, increased resilience, and depression. It involves various major muscle groups, which stimulate flexibility, improved cardiovascular fitness, and overall body strength.

Mountain climber technique

  • Get into a press-up position, ensuring that the body aligns with the ankle and shoulder

  • Return to the starting position by lifting the left foot and bringing the knees as close to the chest as possible

  • Repeat the motion with the right foot

  • Alternate the feet continuously in the same motion as quickly as you can within the time allocated

Photo by Li Sun on Pexels

A mountain climber targets the full body, including the quads, shoulder, core, and arms, facilitating endurance, agility, and core strength. Once you get the basics, challenge the body with advanced variations.


Assault bike

Air biking enhances mental fitness by 15% and improves physical fitness by 5%. A regular workout with an air bike reduces mental disorders such as anxiety and depression while improving your mood. It also enhances the development of new brain cells in the hippocampus, which has a responsive memory in the brain.

How to do it

  • Check the saddles for proper fit; the legs should only bend slightly down the stroke

  • Pedal the same way you peddle a stationary bike, moving the arms forward and back

  • Keep the head up and the chest high

Assault bikes promote strengthening of the core, arms, and cardiovascular health. Consider using an air bike to achieve fitness goals such as mental health, calorie burning, and muscle strengthening in both the lower and upper body.


Jumping rope

Jumping rope is a high intense workout essential in boosting mental health by increasing blood flow in the entire body thus reducing anxiety and depression. It can also improve coordination, stronger muscles and bones, and cardiorespiratory fitness.

Photo by Gustavo Fring on Pexels

Procedure of doing high-intense jump rope

  • Hold the rope with the hands at hip level

  • Swing the rope by rotating the wrist and jump, with both feet

  • Alternate the feet, one at a time

  • Repeat until the set is done

The upper body should be straight, loosen the shoulder and use only wrist to rotate, knee slightly bent. Jump rope is a high- impact, easy and affordable exercise which works on knees, hips, stress the back, ankle and feet.


Russian twist with a medicine ball

A Russian twist is an excellent HIIT exercise for strengthening the core, spine, and obliques. It also reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke by burning calories. Russian twist aids in abdominal muscle strengthening, promoting good posture, and preventing slouching. Incorporating a Russian twist will make you feel better and more confident about your body.

How to do a Russian twist

  • Find a medicine ball, dumbbell, or weight plate

  • Lie on the floor with the knee bent at 90-degrees (the feet should be firm on the floor)

  • Lift the upper body to create a V-shape between the thighs

  • Hold the weight in front of you and stretch straight out

  • Twist the torso as far as you can to the right and repeat the motion to the left


High-intensity interval training improves mental well-being and decreases depression and stress levels. When practicing HIIT, the brain produces more cortisol, which activates the sympathetic nervous system, producing a fighting response. The physiological benefits of HIIT include improved metabolism, moderate blood glucose, improved body composition, and insulin sensitivity. Consider practicing HIIT to facilitate body stability, mental health, and good physical appearance.

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