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The Gray Iron Fitness Newsletter, Issue #199. Is HIIT the best execise for seniors?
March 15, 2017
March 15, 2017
In this newsletter . . .
High Intensity Interval Training in the News
Doctors and scientists today almost universally believe that regular exercise leads to a healthier and longer life. However, which type of exercise yields the most benefit is controversial. Though some combination of resistance work with cardiovascular training is recognized by most experts as the way to go.
Digging a little deeper, Cosmos, a literary science magazine, published in Australia, reported on an interesting study on how exercise stops the ageing process. Ageing is marked by the steady decrease of the energy-generating capacity of our cells mitochondria. And what the research suggests is that high-intensity interval training (HIIT) -- in particular -- can effectively stop ageing at a cellular level. Let me repeat that: high intensity interval training can effectively stop ageing at the cellular level. That’s what they said.
The research, published in Cell Metabolism, showed that the physical activity caused cells to make more proteins for their energy-producing mitochondria and ribosomes, which are responsible for producing ours cells’ protein building blocks.
Which kind of workouts was most effective?
It was small study (36 men and 36 women) from two age groups: volunteers aged 18-30 years and an older group of 65-80 years. The volunteers were placed into groups in three categories: 1) those doing high intensity interval training; 2) others doing strength training with weights; and 3) those doing a combination of strength and interval training.
The high intensity interval-training group received the greatest benefit.
Will this be the last word in determining which form of training provides the greatest benefit? It’s just me talking and I’m not a scientist. But I doubt that this will be the final word. My guess is there will be further studies and maybe different outcomes.
Still the results of the study by the doctors and scientists can be persuasive. So, as a senior, should you add high intensity interval training, HIIT, to your lifestyle? Maybe. My thoughts on HIIT are found here. The page is one of the most visited at my website.
Normally, I personally don’t do anything as intense as, say, high intensity Tabata. I’m 80-years-old. But once a while I’ll give it my all. After reading about the study, my wife and I decided it would be fun to do a Tabata workout. Heck yes!
We picked five exercises and cycled through them with Tabata’s 10-second rest periods between the all-out efforts. We picked:
When we went through the five exercises once, we began again at the top.
Well, Tabata workouts are over quickly. Were we really huffing and puffing? You bet. Anyone giving a Tabata workout everything they’ve got, will be huffing and puffing, too. Guaranteed.
Will Tabata be my regular workout routine? No. I may work in a Tabata effort at times. But my regular process these days is alternating 35-minutes of resistance exercise one day with 35-minutes of cardiovascular work next day.
Read more about HIIT (and Tabata) here.
Postscript: If you are an overweight and out-of-shape senior beginner, please do not dive into high intensity intervals. Start your fitness lifestyle with an age-appropriate beginners’ program.
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The Gray Iron Fitness Newsletter is a free publication sent twice monthly to subscribers. The purpose is to provide honest and realistic fitness information for people age 50 and above.
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