those sneakers. Exercise — specifically high-intensity
interval training — slows down the aging process.
study published in the journal Cell Metabolism noted that any
kind of exercise is better than none, but it’s the
high-intensity interval training that does best in reversing
age-related changes at the cellular level. Though this works
for people of all ages, it seems to offer more benefits to
it is commonly known, requires short bursts of intense aerobic
activity, intermixed with longer stretch of moderate exercise.
Participating in this kind of training encourages cells to
make more proteins to fuel the energy producing cellular
mechanism. This, in turn, arrests the aging process.
study found that younger people participating in HIIT showed a
49 percent increase in mitochondrial capacity and the older
group saw a 69 percent. (Mitochondria are the cells’
powerhouses, responsible for producing the molecule that
transports chemical energy within cells.)
on everything we know, there’s no substitute for these
exercise programs when it comes to delaying the aging
process," Dr. Sreekumaran Nair, senior author of the
study and a diabetes researcher at the Mayo Clinic in
Rochester, Minnesota, told Medical News. "These things we
are seeing cannot be done by any medicine."
study, funded by the National Institutes of Health, used two
sets of volunteers: the younger set ranged in age from 18 to
30 and the older ranged in age between 65 and 80. Those
studied were then divided into three different supervised
exercise training programs that lasted three months. The
mixed-age HIIT group did three days a week of cycling, with
high-intensity bouts alternating with low-intensity pedaling,
and two days a week of moderately difficult treadmill walking.
strength training group did weights for lower and upper body
muscles two days each week, while a third group cycled and
lifted weight five days a week, but always less strenuously
than the two other groups.
surprisingly, the researchers found that strength training was
most effective for building muscle mass and for improving
strength — important because both qualities decline with age
— but the group that participated in HIIT earned the best
results at the cellular level. HIIT seemed to reverse the
age-related decline in both mitochondrial function and
should you plan for your exercise week? "If people have
to pick one exercise," Nair said, "I would recommend
high-intensity interval training, but I think it would be more
beneficial if they could do 3 to 4 days of interval training
and then a couple of days of strength training."