High-Intensity Interval Training does more than build strength

If you are following us on Twitter (and why wouldn’t you be? 😉), you see us tweeting about the new findings on HIIT and aging muscles.

What is HIIT and how does it relate to aging muscles?

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is an exercise style alternating short intervals of all-out exertion (such as sprints) with active rest periods (such as walking). HIIT training keeps you moving the entire time for aerobic benefit but assures the muscles are challenged with anaerobic exertion for a portion of the 10-20 minutes of total workout time. Think of HIIT as long enough for aerobic endurance and fast enough for an anaerobic burn.

High-Intensity Interval Training is increasingly popular in recent years and is the centerpiece of many exercise programs. It’s in the news as a hot topic for aging muscles because of a recent academic study widely reported in the popular media. The New York Times described the Mayo Clinic study as, “The Best Exercise for Aging Muscles. (Here’s the link to the New York Times article and Here’s a link to the Star Tribune article)  We’ll assume the connection between Baby Boomers and aging muscles is obvious. Yes, the Baby Boomers are aging despite our Peter Pan fetish.

12-Week Study

The original 12-week study (released in March 2017 and published in Cell Metabolism) looked at three common forms of exercise and their results at the cellular level:

  • HIIT — High-Intensity Aerobic Interval training
  • RT — Resistance training, and
  • Combined training.

The Mayo study found all three types of exercise (HIIT, RT and Combined) enhanced insulin sensitivity and lean mass. This finding is important and significant given the risk of obesity and diabetes as we age.  But the MOST significant finding for us Baby Boomers is that only HIIT improved age-related decline in muscles.

The cellular level mitochondria effect of fighting age-related muscle decline is unique to HIIT. Both RT and HIIT help maintain muscle mass and strength. RT produced more strength. High-Intensity Interval Training produced greater endurance. Strength and endurance are correlated with better overall health and longevity.

So, we cannot ignore resistance training (RT). The older we get the more we benefit from HIIT and RT to keep our muscles strong and keep us moving. We need BOTH high-intensity interval training and resistance training to keep as strong and healthy as possible. It’s never too late to benefit from exercise. But HIIT has the added benefit of improving muscle cells’ genetic performance or effective age.  HIIT reverses muscle aging at the cellular level. (Men’s Health)

Bottom line?

Baby Boomers need to include high-intensity interval training into our exercise and wellness routine. You can beat your chronological age with young and healthy muscles to improve strength, flexibility, and movement.

Baby Boomers need to include high-intensity interval training into our exercise and wellness routine. You can beat your chronological age with young and healthy muscles to improve strength, flexibility, and movement.

And It is never too late. Get into high-intensity interval training classes. Keep moving. Work those muscles. HIIT the gym. A trainer can ease you into a program if it has been a few years (or decades) since you’ve been to the gym.

We are all aging. Let’s support each other in doing it WELL!! Baby Boomers, let’s age with freedom.

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