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.
Angela Atkinson is a Certified Life Coach and the author of more than 20 books on narcissism, narcissistic abuse recovery and related topics. A recognized expert on narcissism and narcissistic personality disorder who has studied and written extensively on narcissistic relationships since 2006, Atkinson was inspired to begin her work as a result of having survived toxic relationships of her own.
Atkinson offers trauma-informed coaching and has certifications in life coaching, level 2 therapeutic model, CBT coaching, integrative wellness coaching, and NLP. She is a certified trauma support coach and certified family trauma professional. She also has a professional PTSD counseling certification. Her mission is to help those who have experienced the emotional and mental devastation that comes with narcissistic abuse in these incredibly toxic relationships to (re)discover their true selves, stop the gaslighting and manipulation and move forward into their genuine desires – into a life that is exactly what they choose for themselves.
Along with her solution-focused life coaching experience, Atkinson’s previous career in journalism and research helps her to offer both accurate and understandable information for survivors of abuse in a simple-to-understand way that helps to increase awareness in the narcissistic abuse recovery community. Atkinson founded QueenBeeing.com Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support, the SPANily Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support Groups and the Life Makeover Academy. In her life coaching practice, Atkinson’s clients enjoy her personalized approach that allows and encourages them to become the best possible versions of themselves and to succeed in doing what they love most. She offers individual and group coaching for victims and survivors of narcissistic abuse at NarcissisticAbuseRecovery.Online and NarcissismSupportCoach.com.