You probably know that any form of physical activity beats sitting on the couch if you want to look and feel younger. However, some exercises are more effective than others. Researchers from the Mayo Clinic figured out how you can design your workouts to reverse the clock as much as possible in as little time as possible.

The Mayo team tested 3 different exercise programs on men and women under 30 and over 65. After 12 weeks, high intensity interval training (HIIT) proved to be the anti-aging winner, compared to lighter cycling and lifting or strength training alone.

That's because HIIT made changes at the cellular level, enhancing mitochondrial function. Participants over 65 had a 69% increase in their cells' ability to take in oxygen and produce energy, while those under 30 had a 49% boost.

While that might sound a little technical, it means slowing down age-related physical decline, including osteoporosis, arthritis, hypertension, heart conditions, and digestive issues.

Learn how to stay young. Follow these guidelines for a workout program that reverses aging.

High Intensity Interval Training to Fight Aging

1. Understand the concept. High intensity interval training means alternating between short periods of intense exercise and gentler activities. In the Mayo study, this involved 4 minutes of fast cycling followed by 3 minutes of easy cycling repeated 4 times.

2. Be consistent. You'll need to do HIIT regularly to see results. Aim for at least 2 to 3 workouts each week.

3. Proceed gradually. Avoid injuries by giving your body time to adapt. You might start out with just a few minutes of HIIT, and work your way up slowly to 15 or 20 minutes.

4. Rest up. The gentle periods are just as important as the more intense phase. That's when your body becomes conditioned to return to your normal heart rate quickly.

Strength Training to Fight Aging

1. Build muscle. Strength training may not rival HIIT for cellular changes, but it's good at slowing down age-related muscle loss. Otherwise, most adults over 30 lose about 5% each decade.

2. Challenge yourself. Heavier weights and lower repetitions will give you faster results. Try picking the biggest dumbbell that you can lift safely 4 to 8 times.

3. Take time off. Work hard at the gym, but rest between sessions so muscles can heal and grow. Take a day of rest or do other activities like biking or running.

Other Anti-Aging Training Tips

1. Steady yourself. Training for balance will protect you from falls and may help prevent some forms of dementia. Take a yoga class or practice standing on one foot while you brew coffee.

2. Stand tall. Good posture helps you to look younger and puts less strain on your spine. It also enhances bodily functions like respiration, circulation, and digestion.

3. Target your whole body. Include lots of full body exercises in your workout. You'll burn more calories and increase your coordination. Plus, you'll see more gains in functional fitness that prepares you to handle real-life tasks like vacuuming and yard work.

4. Engage your brain. Your mental health matters too. In addition to exercising your brain with word puzzles, try physical activities that make you think, like waltzing or playing tennis.

5. Be social. Connecting with others is like a fountain of youth. Work out with a buddy or go running with your spouse.

Any work out can help you manage your weight and reduce inflammation, but HIIT does more to maintain healthy cell functions as you grow older. Make high intensity interval training part of your formula for fitness and anti-aging.

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