Let’s face it. Our bodies change as we get older. We don’t exercise as much. We lose muscle mass. This slows down our metabolism and lowers our energy level. Our balance starts to suffer.
None of this happens overnight. It’s a slow, gradual part of the aging process. And, an inevitable part of the aging process… or is it?
The Mayo Clinic released some startling results early this year. They published a study on the anti-aging effects of exercise. Not only did high intensity interval training (otherwise known as HIIT) affect cardio, but it also affected aging. The study compared the effects of HIIT, resistance training, and combined training. I have to tell you, I love resistance training, but it did not show the same anti-aging advantage as HIIT and combined training.
WHAT THE STUDY FOUND
In addition to improving overall fitness, fast-paced, aerobic interval exercise also made changes on the cellular level! This is really exciting news. HIIT actually enhanced the cellular machinery that creates new proteins!
Resistance training is still important, because provides the best muscle development. But, if you had to choose just one, HIIT would give you the best overall benefit.
The take home message if you are over 50 — now is the time to start interval training. See your doctor first for a physical examination. And make sure you start at a level appropriate to your current fitness level.
BENEFITS OF TRAINING:
- improved cardio, muscle mass, blood sugar
- improved mitochondrial cellular function
- improved skeletal muscle gene expression
Again, resistance training is still important for increased muscle strength! In fact, the best overall results according to the Mayo Clinic were from combined training, using HIIT and resistance. This being the case, I recommend at least two days of resistance training a week.
A good program might be HIIT training Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Resistance training Tuesday and Thursday. Flexibility training Saturday. And Sunday as a rest day. This would provide a balanced anti-aging exercise program. You can easily adapt these exercises for any fitness level.