A Scientific Approach to Exercising Aging Muscles
In part one of this two part series, we described the cellular impact exercise has on aging, as reported by Gretchen Reynolds in The New York Times (The Best Exercise for Aging Muscles, March 23, 2017). We mentioned that Mayo Clinic research confirming that, particularly among adults 60+, high-intensity interval training delivers the best results.
Introducing Dr. Joseph Mercola, Fitness Guru
Familiar with the Mayo Clinic findings, and broadly supportive of their conclusions, Dr. Mercola (Peak Fitness) agrees that high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and high-intensity circuit training (HICT) ‘can yield greater fitness benefits in less time compared to longer, low- or moderate-intensity workouts.’
In addition to promoting mitochondrial health, two key benefits of HIIT and HICT include fat and weight loss and what’s known as improved VO2 max – the maximum amount of oxygen you can take in while exercising.
Is HIIT & HICT Safe for Seniors?
HIIT and HICT may seem too intense for the elderly, but, according to Dr. Mercola:
…rest assured you can perform HIIT and HICT at any age and still reap major benefits. The only difference is that the older you are the lower your maximum heart rate will be, and the more gradually you will want to increase your repetitions.
Dr. Mercola typically recommends a HIIT or HICT session lasting 20 minutes, as follows:
- Warm up for three minutes.
- Exercise as hard and fast as you can for 30 seconds. You should feel like you couldn't possibly go on another few seconds.
- Recover for 90 seconds.
- Repeat the high-intensity exercise and recovery seven more times (eventually, but start with just two or three repetitions).
As with all exercise regimes, it’s important to consult with a medical professional before embarking on a new program. HIIT and HICT work faster and more effectively than most alternative exercise programs – especially as you age.