We all want to be fitter, right? Whether you are trying to lose weight or just feel stronger and more confident, fitness is part of being a modern human. But what type of exercise is best for you? Cardio? Strength training? Gentle? Intense? How about the type that slows cellular aging?
Recent research has shown that high-intensity interval training (HIIT) may actually reduce and reverse longterm damage done to mitochondria—the powerhouse of the cell. In their research, according to biopsied muscle cells, thrice-weekly interval training actually activated and changed more genes than strength training or moderate cardio, leading to the conclusion that “HIIT improves age-related decline in muscle mitochondria”.
In the study, HIIT gene activation was widespread among the young and fit as well as the older and less physically active. In fact, among older participants the effect was surprisingly stronger; a whopping 400 genes activated and worked differently after interval training compared to 33 genes for weight lifters and a mere 19 genes for moderate exercisers. These genes are thought to affect cellular energy expenditure, specifically the functioning of the mitochondria. Those who practiced HIIT had increased numbers and health in their mitochondria, which, long term, can actually slow cellular aging.
It is not so much that HIIT will make you an ageless wonder, but the exercise practice likely corrects accelerated aging. There are so many reasons our cellular aging could be accelerated: environmental toxins, poor diet, inactivity, stress, et cetera. HIIT may undo a lot of that damage and keep your muscle cells energized and working as they should be.
Not entirely sure what HIIT is? High intensity interval training involves doing a particular exercise at 100 percent effort for short bursts of time (30 seconds-3 minutes), usually with 30 second rest periods in between. Generally, workouts range between 10-30 minutes. HIIT workouts, although short, are significantly more intense than regular exercise and cause a chain of molecular responses that lead to dramatically increased fitness gains. An added bonus: HIIT is a highly effective form of exercise for fat loss, too. Crossfit is a particularly popular form of high intensity interval workouts, but it is also easy to create your own workout routine to practice at home, depending on what you prefer.
It doesn’t matter how old you are. Everyone can benefit from a reasonable amount of exercise. While there is no fountain of youth, interval training may help you age more slowly, more healthfully and more gracefully.