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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.
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.
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.
Does it take days for you to recover after your workout sessions at the gym? This is a sign that you may be overdoing it and need to cut back. Learn more about important signals from your body that warn you to slow down, and what you can do to make your fitness routine work better for you.
If you’re experiencing these symptoms, it’s time to evaluate your fitness routine:
1. Soreness after more than 48 hours. It’s normal to have some soreness after a hard workout However, if you’re still sore and in serious pain more than 48 hours after your last workout, then it’s a sign something is wrong with your exercise plan and its severity.
- This soreness shouldn’t even appear if you’ve been doing the same workouts for months.
- Muscle pain, stiffness, and soreness are signs that you’re overdoing it at the gym and may have an overuse injury. There could be micro tears in your muscles, sprains, or other issues.
2. Lasting joint pain. Joint pain can also point to an overuse injury.
- You may need to rest and get medical attention for joint pain that doesn’t go away after a few days.
3. Backsliding results. Naturally, you want to see your workouts bring results, but you may end up backsliding if you’re overdoing it at the gym.
- For example, if you’re pushing yourself too hard and getting injured, then your results could drop from being able to do 10 laps to 5 laps at the gym. Another example is if you’re not able to lift the same weights that you could lift a few weeks back.
- Backsliding results shouldn’t be ignored because they’re a sign you’re doing too much and hurting yourself.
4. Dreading workouts. Everyone wants to skip the occasional workout and eat a bagel. However, if you dread your workouts to the point that you’ll come up with any excuse to avoid them, then it’s time to reevaluate.
- Exercise might not always be fun, but it shouldn’t make you miserable. If you avoid or reschedule all of your workouts, consider if the main culprit is that you’re overdoing it.
- You may be pushing yourself too far and want to skip the pain that comes with exercise.
- Once you start a workout, you would normally tend to cheer up because serotonin levels increase. However, if you’re not any happier while you’re doing the exercises, it’s a clear sign that something needs to change. You may need to redo your routines or cut them down to a more reasonable amount.
Adjusting Your Workouts to Avoid Injury
If you’ve been forcing your body past its limits, you’ll benefit from seeking professional help to adjust your workouts:
- If you’re overdoing it, then a trainer can help you slow down and actually get better results.
- A trainer can work with you and push you just beyond your limits without sacrificing your health. A professional trainer knows how to avoid injuries and overuse of muscles, so you don’t create lasting damage.
- If you prefer not to hire a trainer, consider help from trusted sources online, such as videos from experts.
Exercise shouldn’t hurt your health, and overdoing it at the gym is dangerous. Pay attention to the warning signs from your body and take steps to avoid damage.
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