It's no surprise consistent exercise keeps you healthy, but a new study suggests a certain type of workout can actually dramatically improve your longevity. This is how you can get your sweat on well into your golden years.
Photo by Julian Lim.
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is cardio exercise that involves alternating between short periods of super intense exercise and very short breaks. For example, intense sprinting for three to five minutes, then taking a short break, then doing more sprinting. Repeat. It isn't easy to do, but it has some benefits you're probably interested in.
The HIIT study, published in the journal Cell Metabolism, looked at two different age groups: Men and women 18 to 30, and men and women 65 to 80. Over 12 weeks they participated in exercise regimens that involved consistent HIIT workouts, and by the end, both groups saw several benefits that suggest an improvement to age-related decline. Their insulin sensitivity improved, meaning they lowered their risk of diabetes, and they had an increase in ribosome activity, which suggests improved protein synthesis. Participants in the younger group saw a 49 per cent increase to their mitochondrial capacity, which is what helps your body's cells create energy. The older participants saw a 69 per cent increase.
As Dr Sreekumaran Nair, senior author of the study, explained to CNN, increased protein production and more energy helps reverse some age-related cell changes. High-intensity interval training encourages your cells to do both of those things, thus halting the ageing process to an extent. So, if you haven't already, start incorporating HIIT workouts into your normal routine. They will do more than make you look and feel good — they will let you do those things longer.