Aging—or rather, reversing its effects—has always been on our radar. Young and old, people of all ages and walks of life are interested in ways to resist old age and hang on to their youthful looks and way of life for as long as possible. It’s just part of human nature to want to live longer and stay young.
As you know, the changes you see in the mirror are just the outward manifestation of major changes that are taking place deep at the cellular level. One of those changes is the decline of our mitochondrial capacity. Mitochondria are tiny powerhouses inside our cells responsible for energy production. As we get older, our mitochondria work less and less efficiently, resulting in cellular damage and weakness. Hence the differences between young and old people in terms of how much energy they have available and how their bodies use up that energy. (Scientists have found a herb that helps tone your aging muscles and make them strong again.)
The research on different ways to alter these age-related changes at the cellular level is ongoing, and a recent study published in the journal Cell Metabolism seems to have made a promising discovery: scientists uncovered that the key to staying young could be in interval training.
Interval training may help you stay young
If you’re not well versed in fitness and workouts, the abbreviation HIIT may not mean anything to you, but it’s in your best interest to make a note of it because you’ll want to try it. It stands for high-intensity interval training, which is basically a method of working out where you alternate aerobic exercises with weight training. HIIT has been praised for its lower injury risk when compared to more repetitive training methods, and now HIIT is making headlines again: It has been found to help reduce the aging effects on a cellular level. (Your lifestyle also contributes to your muscle loss.)
For this 12-week study, the researchers divided the participants into three groups: the first group was doing high-intensity aerobic interval training, the second group did resistance training, and the third group did a combination of the two. As you would expect from any physical activity, all three modes of training have been shown to increase lean body mass in the subjects; however, high-intensity interval training has been found to be far superior, improving the capacity of the mitochondria in the muscle cells of the participants and making their mitochondria resemble the mitochondria of younger people in terms of energy handling.
Even if this is the first time you have heard about HIIT and you’re not into sports and working out, do not fret. It’s not a rocket science and you don’t need to turn into a professional athlete overnight just for the sake of reaping those promising, youth-preserving benefits. As Chris Powell, a trainer and transformation specialist on ABC, put it, “It’s all about completing, not competing.” You don’t even need a gym membership to start doing HIIT, as all the training can be done using your own weight and maybe some simple home equipment. (Launch an all-around attack on the various causes of muscle loss.)
For the aerobic portion of the training, try rope jumping, jumping jacks, or high knees.
For weight training, you can do push ups, lunges, back squats, and the like.
Start with 20 reps of an aerobic exercise followed by 10 reps of a weight training exercise. You will soon discover that there are countless combinations, and the best part is, you can really do it whenever you have some time at home. As with any exercise though, make sure you consult with your doctor before you start training to avoid any possible complications. Happy training!
Related: Defeat aging with this fruit