A National Institutes of Health funded-study may have found the secret to staying young. It’s a type of exercise called interval-training and scientists say it may have anti-aging benefits for older adults.
Two age groups participated in this study – 18 to 30, and 65 to 80 years of age. Everyone took part in either high intensity interval-training, resistance training or a combination of the two. After three months, the researchers found interval training was useful in reversing the older participant’s mitochondria. Mitochondria are considered the power generators of your cells. Older adults saw a 69% increase in mitochondrial capacity and younger participants had a 49% increase. Amazing!
Think of mitochondria as tiny batteries. As we all get older, the energy producing mitochondria for our cells naturally become less efficient. Researchers reported changes in the mitochondria where older adult’s cells resembled younger people’s cells when looking at how they handled energy.
High intensity interval training sounds intimidating but you don’t have to be an athlete to do it. All you need to do is alternate short bursts of intense aerobic exercise with intervals of lighter moderate exercise. If you’re interested in trying this, here are my prescriptions:
1. If you’re a beginner, start off slowly. Try alternating walking with spurts of fast walking for 30 seconds at a time, building up to 3 minutes for each.
2. You can use Interval Training with any cardio workout like running or jumping rope. Be sure to include a warm-up to loosen your joints.
3. Be careful of injuries. Don’t rush into working out too hard before your body is ready.
4. Interval training may not be good if you have joint or muscle problems. Talk to your doctor first if you have any health conditions.
In this study high interval training had superior effects. But the other two exercise programs were also good because strength training builds muscle mass and improves strength. I want to stress that any kind of exercise has benefits. It’s important to do what interests you, otherwise you won’t stick to it.