One of the strongest predictors of longevity is fitness and that’s why this new study I came across recently interested me…..it delivers yet another reason to get active if you want to increase your chances of living healthier for longer.
Anti-Aging benefits of HIIT
What the researchers found was that some forms of exercise provide anti-aging benefits that other forms of workouts don’t……..and this is the piece of information that totally surprised me.
It also provides some interesting insights into endurance and HIIT training (which many of us are already aware of and probably doing) yet it leaves me questioning the writer’s view on resistance, or strength training, which becomes even more important to our independence as we age.
But in all fairness to the author of the article, the study is more about cellular aging as witnessed in this quote by Professor Laufs, “Our main finding is that, compared to the start of the study and the control group, in volunteers who did endurance and high-intensity training, telomerase activity and telomere length increased, which are both important for cellular aging, regenerative capacity and thus, healthy aging. Interestingly, resistance training did not exert these effects.”
This is a great result but I would still be recommending that you don’t throw out your strength training program just yet.
For years I have done and recommended HIIT – High-Intensity Interval Training for Seniors three times a week as part of my regular exercise program.
I have noticed though its popularity seems to wax and wane. It is without a doubt an excellent form of exercise for seniors as this recent five-year study named Generation 100 has revealed.
The article recommends doing this program twice a week but I find with my clients that three times per week has much better results.
Dr Steve Boutcher of the University of NSW School of Medical Sciences is someone else who has done a lot of work in this area but his research is mainly aimed at weight loss.
His book 20 x 3: Eliminate Your Belly Fat in an Hour a Week is well worth reading if you would like to get fit quickly plus lose some weight. Steve asked a group of obese men to ride exercise bikes intensely for 8 seconds, followed by 12 seconds of gentle peddling. This was repeated 60 times (20 minutes) and performed three times per week for 12 weeks.
So, in other words, it is another form of HIIT. I use Steve’s method quite regularly but prefer a rowing machine to a bike. There is a lot more to it than that as this is just a quick overview of his research and method.
A word of warning: Unless you have already been doing some form of higher-level cardio then don’t go and launch your body into an all-out HIIT assault – you could end up with blood pooling or any number of other issues. Progression is the key – start slowly and work your way up over a few months as you get fitter. Take it from me, it is worth the effort and your body will thank you.
If you would like more information just go and Google “HIIT for seniors”. That will keep you busy for hours.
I feel the two combined – strength training and HIIT, will, in time, prove to be a powerful force in the art of Active Ageing.
As with many studies, they often provide good evidence for inclusion in a broader problem…..as is the case here.
And with my take on the broader problem being the exercise requirements needed for the functional, long term, health and fitness for both men and women.
Many readers without a wealth of experience in health and fitness, when reading this article, may believe that resistance training is no longer required for an Active Ageing program.
This is far from the case.
My belief is, Active Ageing isn’t about holding onto your youth — it is about maximizing the opportunities of ageing and maintaining your independence.
So, if you want to keep moving, you have to keep moving.
This article will help complete the picture for you: Why Strength Training is SO Important as You Start Aging.
And just before you go……..according to another recent study in The British Medical Journal HIIT workouts are linked to better mental health and longer, healthier lives.
The study also noted that this type of workout is particularly effective for adults over 70, boosting mental and physical wellness, improving fitness, and possibly even extending lifespan. So why not give it a go, what have you got to lose?
Cheers – John – your Active Ageing Mentor and Coach.
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