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Fitness and motivation, Health and happiness

The Best Exercise To Stay Young

By Laura March 24, 2017

We've talked before about how having a positive outlook on life can help you stay you young, but what if there was an exercise you could do that would help combat ageing?

According to a study published in March in Cell Metabolism, High Intensity Interval Training can do exactly that. HIIT is an exercise that incorporates short, sharp burst of intense exercise that raise your heart rate, alongside periods of lower intensity exercise. It's great for people who are short of time as it can ensure that you get a great workout in as little as 20 minutes.

The Study

The study enrolled 36 men and 36 women from two age group, 18-30 year old's and 65-80 year old's and split them into 3 different groups to do 3 different types of exercise:

  • Group 1 did high-intensity interval training on a bike
  • Group 2 did strength training with weights
  • Group 3 did a combination of both strength training and interval training

The researchers also took biopsies from the volunteers' thigh muscles and compared the molecular makeup of their muscle cells to samples from volunteers who did no exercise. The researchers also assessed the volunteers' amount of lean muscle mass and insulin sensitivity. 

The Findings

As a whole the study found that while strength training helped build muscle mass, high-intensity interval training created the biggest benefits at the cellular level. 

  • The younger volunteers in the interval training group saw a 49% increase in mitochondrial capacity (the decline of which leads to ageing)
  • The older volunteers saw a 69% increase in mitochondrial capacity


Image courtesy of http://www.cell.com/cell-metabolism/fulltext/S1550-4131(17)30099-2

The Takeaway

Of course any exercise is better than no exercise at all, but this study shows that the introduction of HIIT can be particularly good at preventing the ageing process. The perfect combination? Researchers from this study suggest a routine of 2-3 days of HIIT with a couple of days of strength training. Want to find out more about HIIT? Check out this article


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