US based researchers have found that short-burst high-intensity interval training (HIIT) may have rejuvenating effects. HIIT helps rejuvenate protein-building factories in cells, called ribosomes and boost energy-producing capacity of cells’ powerhouses called mitochondria.
Mitochondria’s ability to generate energy dwindles with age, this study has suggested that HIIT workouts can reverse age-related changes. HIIT involves alternating between intense spurts of actions and more leisurely paced activities.
The study involved health participants aged 18-30 and 65-80, who all completed 12 weeks of exercise. One group did just HIIT including cycling and treadmills, another did weight training and a third did a moderate level of both. 29 adults in the younger group and 23 in the older group completed the regime.
Researchers measured all participants before starting the regime and again 72 hours after finishing. All exercises increased lean body mass for both age groups and increased insulin sensitivity, suggesting lower risk of developing diabetes.
The groups which undertook HIIT saw an increase in the rate of oxygen they consumed while exercising, which is a good measure of cardiovascular fitness. Younger participants who took HIIT lone saw oxygen increase by 28% and the older group saw 17%.
Those who took HIIT alone saw mitochondria increase by 49% in the younger group and 69% for the older group. Researchers have suggested one day it may be possible to bottle the results, but it won’t happen anytime soon.
Moderate exercise may not have the same effect on your mitochondrial as HIIT, but the NHS still reccomend adults doing 150 minutes of it week as it can help you live a longer and healthier life.
HIIT isn’t for everyone, and it’s important to consider other options before starting it and maybe talk to your GP if you have any pre-exisiting medical conditions.