The Big Question; Can HIIT Be the Answer to Slowing Down the Ageing Process?
From time immemorial, man has been on an insatiable quest for the fountain of youth. There’s something simply fascinating about immortality that makes man span the corners of the earth searching for that one ingredient that will make him live forever.
It’s no wonder the field of medicine has some of the highest paid practitioners on earth. For deep down, each individual has the desire to live on and on!
Though many have accepted that death is a part of life, quite a number of individuals still cling on to their youth, and will do anything to maintain it for years to come!
Thankfully, science has dispelled some of the folklore and fiction regarding age, and this has led to a more scientific outlook on the process. Can you really slow down the aging process?
How HIIT comes to play
HIIT, also known as High-Intensity Interval Training, has become highly popularized thanks to its strong links to anti-aging. In fact, only recently did a group of scientists based in the US carry out a study that addressed whether HIIT might be the key to slowing down the aging process.
So what is HIIT really?
HIIT is an exercise technique that involves intense bursts of exercise action which are then followed by periods of leisure exercising during one’s routine. As a matter of fact, the team of scientists has discovered that undertaking HIIT has been known to greatly revitalize ribosomes, which are basically the protein building and resynthesizing factories present in the cells.
Additionally, HIIT has also been recorded to boost the mitochondria’s capacity to produce energy. As you are by now aware, the older we get, the more the mitochondria’s ability to generate energy slows down. Hence, we become less active. Studies, however, show that HIIT can greatly reduce these changes seen in the mitochondria related to age.
How the study was carried out
The team of researchers selected healthy participants and had them undertake up to 12 weeks of exercise. During the timeframe, individuals were divided into three groups, where one undertook HIIT (involving treadmills and cycling), another did weight training, while the last group did a combination of both exercises.
There were a total of 29 individuals in the study aged between 18-30, and another group of 23 individuals aged 65 to 80. During the 12 week period, researchers took a number of fitness and health data before the trials kicked off and 72 hours after the timeframe had elapsed.
Results of the study
In all three groups, it was observed that there was an increase in lean muscle mass despite the age of the individual. This meant that insulin sensitivity increased in all groups, resulting in a lower chance of them developing diabetes.
Additionally, for those who undertook weight training as well as the infusion of both regimes experienced muscle strength increase. Something which over the years has been shown to decrease with age.
Lastly, for the group that undertook HIIT regardless of the age, it was recorded that they experience an increase in the consumption rate of oxygen. A measure that is closely tied to impeccable cardiovascular fitness.
Interpreting the results
Hence, for those who undertook HIIT, it was recorded that mitochondria capacity had increased by a whopping 49% for the young adults. As for the older adults, a whopping 69% increase was recorded!
Conclusively, it was determined by the scientists that HIIT does show promise in reducing the aging process, but it might take a while before its powers are put to great effect.
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