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. The benefits of training are: improved cardio, muscle mass, blood sugar; mitochondrial cellular function and 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.
– Recommended routine: 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. (By Cheree Miller – author of “The Fitness Mindset”, Cheree is a certified personal trainer and fitness coach who takes the #NoExcuses approach to being #Over50Strong. Her mission in life is to help people become the best they can be both physically and professionally. Visit her website at www.chereemiller.com/fitness)