06 May High Intensity Interval Training proven to slow and reverse aging
What do you think of when you hear the words anti-aging? Probably some pharmaceutical or beauty company commercial promoting/endorsing some “miracle” elixir that will smooth out wrinkles better than a hot iron. Or maybe a new trendy facemask demonstrated on some social media platform.
Very few – my guess none- would think of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) as a source or remedy for anti-aging. New research has demonstrated that HIIT is an effective way to reverse the cellular mechanisms that significantly contribute to aging in adults.
First, let’s begin by describing what HIIT is and where it falls as an exercise method. To make it easy, structured exercise can be divided into two generic categories, Resistance Training and Aerobic Training. Resistance Training (RT) typically involves repeated shortening and lengthening of a particular muscle or muscle group against an external load, this can be in the form of a barbell, resistance band, kettle bell, etc. Aerobic Training (AT) on the other hand is an overall training method that looks at challenging the cardiovascular system through the manipulation of
specific heart rate ranges. HIIT can be found under the Aerobic Training category and can be defined as a cardiometabolic training method characterized by repeated bouts of high intensity exertion followed by an active recovery.
The new study described above was looking to gain insight on the mechanisms of the benefits that are associated with different exercise methods. What did they do? The researchers separated individuals into 3 separate groups: one group trained exclusively through an RT method, one group exclusively HIIT and the 3rd group used a combination of RT and HIIT. All three groups trained for 12 weeks in duration and were measured and monitored at the molecular level.
So. . .What did they find? For starters all three groups experienced an increase in lean body mass (muscle) and also insulin sensitivity (as the name implies, it’s how sensitive the body is to the effect of insulin). Only, HIIT and combined training saw an increase in skeletal muscle mitochondrial respiration which ultimately increased functional capacity (what is functional capacity? See my previous article on VO2max here). However, HIIT
showed a larger increase in signalling that lead to more proteins being created. This last statement is the hallmark of this study. . . as we age there is a decrease in the ability to create new proteins and this significantly contributes to the aging process. HIIT was shown to reserve this phenomenon. Overall, HIIT was shown to increase muscle mass, improve aerobic capacity and reverse the age related decline muscle mitochondria and protein creation.
Here at DeerFields, members of the Vitality & Longevity Program (VLP) have access to the DeerFields Estate, which hosts a group fitness class every Saturday at 10:00 EST and utilizes many different training methods including High Intensity Interval Training. In addition to training the body there is also a mindfulness & meditation class that follows which is collective known as, Training the Body & Mind.
Robinson, Matthew M., et al. “Enhanced Protein Translation Underlies Improved Metabolic and
Physical Adaptations to Different Exercise Training Modes in Young and Old Humans.” Cell
Metabolism 25.3 (2017): 581-592. Abstract