Discover why people are calling high-intensity interval training an anti-aging workout. How does it delay the aging process?
In this article:
- Beat Aging with the Right Exercise
- The Health Benefits of Working Out
- Training at High Intensity Changes the Mitochondria
- Another Way the Anti-Aging Workout Deals with Your Cells
- How HIIT Compares with Other Exercise Routines
- The Anti-Aging Workout Helps Improve Fat Loss
- The Telomeres and the Mitochondrial Connection
Anti-Aging Workout That Helps You Look and Feel Young for Years
Beat Aging with the Right Exercise
What makes high-intensity interval training an effective anti-aging workout? Exercise is important for overall health and well-being, but recent studies have found that one type of workout can actually reverse aging at a cellular level!
AARP reports a new study from the Mayo Clinic suggests that interval training, rather than weightlifting, may be best at slowing down—or even reversing—aging at a cellular level.
High-intensity interval training or HIIT has become very popular in the last decade as a fast-paced routine that alternates between a short burst of intense aerobic exercise, such as sprinting or cycling at full speed, followed by a brief lower-intensity period.
This pattern is repeated, usually for about 15-20 minutes, although some say even half that time is beneficial.
The benefits of briefly pushing your body to the max, then letting it recover, and then pushing it again helps improve cardiovascular and respiratory health, reduce fat, and control glucose, according to recent studies.
The Health Benefits of Working Out
But the new study, published in Cell Metabolism, finds interval training has additional benefits for older adults: reversing signs of aging within cells.
Researchers had two age groups of men and women—younger than 30 and older than 65—who were randomly assigned to one of three 12-week routines doing either high-intensity interval cycling, strength training with weights, or a modified combination of the two.
The HIIT group had the most strenuous routine. They cycled three days a week, with four four-minute intervals of high-intensity cycling.
This was followed by three-minute easy cycling intervals. Two days a week, they walked briskly on a treadmill for 45 minutes.
The strength-training group did upper- and lower-body weightlifting exercises twice a week. The combination training group did moderately paced steady cycling (no intervals) and lifted weights five days a week but for less time.
Researchers measured changes in the exercisers’ leg strength and lean muscle mass, oxygen capacity, and insulin sensitivity, an indication of diabetes risk. They also took biopsies of thigh muscles to examine cell activity.
The good news: All the exercise routines improved overall fitness, including better respiration, lower fat, and increased insulin sensitivity. This translates to a lower risk of diabetes.
Training at High Intensity Changes the Mitochondria
For older adults, however, the HIIT routine yielded the most benefits in reversing signs of aging within cells.
The over-65 group had a dramatic 69% increase in cells’ ability to take in oxygen and produce energy. The under-30 group experienced a 49%t boost.
The HIIT group, the researchers noted, registered larger cellular changes, especially in mitochondria and ribosomes, which are important for maintaining healthy cell function and also tend to deteriorate with age, “as well as reversal of many age-related changes.”
The takeaway, study author Sreekumaran Nair, M.D., a diabetes researcher at the Mayo Clinic told CNN, is that “any exercise is better than being sedentary.”
But for older adults, interval training is “highly efficient” when it comes to reversing many age-related changes. “These things we are seeing cannot be done by any medicine.”
Another Way the Anti-Aging Workout Deals with Your Cells
Another explanation for aging lies on the telomeres. These are the “tails” found on both ends of the chromosome.
One of the significant processes is cellular division. This allows the body to heal, create new cells, and regenerate.
The problem is, the more the cells divide, the shorter the telomeres get. When they become too short, the cells can no longer function and thus meet cell death or apoptosis.
This increases the risk of not only aging but also chronic diseases. These include heart disease, high blood pressure, cognitive decline, and cancer.
The body counters this through telomerase activity. Telomerase is an enzyme that maintains these telomeres by adding a specific repetitive guanine sequence on them.
Studies showed that an anti-aging workout like HIIT can boost telomerase activity. In a 2018 study, a team recruited 30 young participants or students.
These individuals were sedentary or inactive, as well as non-athletes. The experiment lasted for eight weeks.
During this period, the researchers divided the young adults into two groups. Fifteen of them had to perform the anti-aging workout with three sessions per week.
The intensity of the exercise routine went as high as 175% of the maximum power. The other group served as control and did not participate in any regular sport or physical activity.
The results then suggested that eight weeks of HIIT tends to increase the length of the telomeres as well as telomerase activity.
How HIIT Compares with Other Exercise Routines
Not all types of exercise can be an effective anti-aging workout. In a 2019 study in the European Heart Journal, researchers worked with 124 people.
These individuals were healthy but were also inactive. They formed four groups, with one serving as the control.
The three groups participated in a six-month workout program, performing a different workout routine. Some did a cardio workout or endurance training like running.
The others were into HIIT, and a number did resistance training. They exercised thrice a week for 45 minutes per session.
The results revealed all three exercises boosted the maximum oxygen uptake. This refers to the body’s ability to inhale oxygen and then deliver it to different tissues.
When it comes to extending the length of the telomeres, however, only endurance exercises, including interval training, showed potential. It increased telomerase activity up to threefold.
The Anti-Aging Workout Helps Improve Fat Loss
Fat loss is another reason why HIIT is an anti-aging workout. A 2011 study in the Journal of Obesity showed it can work to reduce both subcutaneous and abdominal fat than other exercises.
One of the reasons why is HIIT’s ability to enhance anaerobic and aerobic capacity and fitness. You can burn calories even when you’re at rest.
The anti-aging workout also helps build muscle fibers, since you need to use many of these simultaneously. Although fats burn calories, muscles use more.
HIIT may also increase the levels of nitric oxide, which works as a vasodilator. In other words, they prevent the blood vessels from narrowing.
When these vessels are in good health, you improve cardiovascular endurance. It also encourages the proper delivery of oxygen to the muscles and tissues.
All these findings of the anti-aging workout and fat loss are essential for one reason. Weight gain and obesity among adults correlate with shorter telomere length.
The Telomeres and the Mitochondrial Connection
Perhaps one of the best pieces of evidence for why HIIT is an anti-aging workout is a study that links telomere length and dysfunction in the mitochondria.
Mitochondria are the cell’s energy powerhouse, and problems with it can lead to a variety of metabolic disorders and issues. All these can accelerate aging including the shortening of the telomeres, according to the 2018 study.
What are metabolic disorders? These are diseases that can occur due to altered or abnormal chemical changes in the body’s metabolism.
HIIT works like a Swiss army knife for the body. It helps produce more mitochondria, especially in the nervous system, skeletal muscle, and heart.
This then increases the energy output of the cells. In turn, they can burn more calories and produce fewer free radicals.
The fountain of youth is not a myth, and you can achieve that with HIIT as your anti-aging workout.
So turn back the clock on aging with it. Hire a personal trainer, sign up at the gym, or take supplements like Juvenon Energy Formula to increase physical activity.
It’s not going to be easy, but if you want to fight disease and stay and feel young longer, it’s going to be worth it.
What makes HIIT an anti-aging workout for you? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on August 30, 2018, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.