High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is one the most effective forms of exercise for ageing well.
The exercise burns fat incredibly efficiently and boosts the metabolism.
Ageing causes your aerobic capacity to drop (which is inevitable) but HIIT will slow the process better than any other exercise. It’s just as effective for cardiovascular endurance as a moderate-intensity form of exercise and is a great way of improving aerobic capacity. HIIT helps stall age-related processes, leading to a more graceful and slower transition into old age.
So what are the benefits exactly?
It’s Good For Your Heart
A key and often overlooked element of ageing is that the heart ages too. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the UK and studies show that HIIT is the superior exercise for cardiovascular health.
Heart diseases cause 26% of all deaths in the UK. Four out of five people who die from coronary heart disease are 65 or older.
HIIT works through short intervals of intense exercise, a popular rhythm is 30 seconds of hard work followed by 30 seconds of rest. Although it’s incredibly strenuous a HIIT workout routine only lasts 8 – 20 minutes.This can be done anywhere too! A steep stairway, the gym or simply with your body weight at home.
Bone density decreases with age, exercise preserves bone density and is a great combatant for this age-related decline. This isn’t limited to HIIT, it’s a benefit of all exercise!
Increases Levels Of Growth Hormones
As we age our growth hormones decline and this causes our body composition to change. Lower levels of growth hormones can lead to lower muscle mass, bone density and higher levels of body fat. HIIT slows this degenerative process.
Improves Insulin Sensitivity
The fat around the waist and abdomen seem impossible to shake off as you get older. It’s partly due to the reduction in insulin sensitivity. Studies have reported that HIIT increases insulin by up to 58%!
Preserves Telomere Length
HIIT activates the telomerase enzyme which helps to prevent telomere shortening, a process linked with ageing which exposes your DNA to free radical damage. This preservation of telomere length stalls the effects of ageing.
HIIT Workouts To Try:
Old but gold! Joe Wicks shows us how it’s done with an intense fat burning routine for beginners.
From our own Colette Pienaar, a simple but effective full body HIIT workout you can do at home: