Interval training is a type of aerobic exercise that alternates between short, high-powered bursts of energy and longer periods of moderate activity to hold the heart rate steady. It has quickly become a popular exercise style for many as increasing numbers of studies have shown that this workout can be even more effective than longer, high-powered workouts, such as running, are. Also called High Intensity Interval Training or HIIT, interval workouts are great for young adults and even middle-aged adults, but some wonder whether they should be used by seniors. Could these short bursts of power be detrimental to your health, or could they provide you with great benefits overall?
The Science Supporting High Intensity Interval Training
Several studies have been done to look at the advantages that these types of workouts have for seniors. In one, seniors who used HIIT training as part of their regular walking regimens were able to lower their blood pressure and increase their leg strength. Another study showed that HIIT training was able to dramatically decrease muscular decline in seniors. Seniors can also expect to build up more lean body mass by decreasing the size of their fat cells, particularly in their bellies. Some have even been able to improve their insulin sensitivity to decrease the side effects of their diabetes. While all types of exercise for seniors come with a myriad of benefits, it should be noted that HIIT training is best able to prevent much unwanted cellular aging.
Interval training does not have to be difficult, nor does it have to require a gym membership. It can be done with a pair of walking shoes or a bicycle. However, group classes with a professional instructor may be able to help seniors get the hang of a new workout while also helping them achieve proper body mechanics throughout their session.