The world renowned Mayo Clinic researchers say interval training may have anti-aging benefits at the cellular level.
The new study, published in the journal Cell Metabolism, involved 72 sedentary adults in two age groups—young (18 to 30) and older (65 to 80). The participants were assigned to one of three 12-week workout routines: high-intensity interval cycling, strength training with weights, or a combined strength-training and cycling plan.
The HIIT cycling plan was the most rigorous of the three. It required three days of cycling (four, 4-minute high-intensity intervals broken up by 3-minute recovery periods), and two days of steady, brisk treadmill walking. The strength-training group performed upper- and lower-body exercises just twice a week, while the combined-training group worked out five days a week but without intervals, and for less time.
Researchers measured changes in the volunteers’ leg strength, lean muscle mass, oxygen capacity, and insulin sensitivity. They also biopsied tissue samples and analyzed cells from the volunteers’ thighs before and after the three-month experiment. At the end of the 12 weeks, all three exercise groups had gained lean muscle and improved aerobic capacity, but those who did high-intensity interval training (HIIT) got the biggest benefit at the cellular level. Younger volunteers experienced a 49% boost in mitochondrial capacity—the cell’s ability to take in oxygen and produce energy—while older folks experienced an even more dramatic 69% increase.
Mitochondria and ribosomes are organelles that are important for metabolism and aerobic fitness, but tend to deteriorate as people get older. Keeping these structures healthy can reverse some signs of age-related decline within cells, say the researchers.
Learn more about the Mayo Clinic: http://www.mayoclinic.org
Get out and ride your bike!