Our team has long held the philosophy that health, wealth and happiness are intertwined. After all, what genuine benefit can be had from wealth without health and happiness to anchor one’s days? We like to think of this combination as the complete package; a package to provide security, peace of mind and a truly fulfilled life. To that end, we found some fantastic research to share with you.
Healthy living is too often confused with dieting or other fads (particularly at this time of year, when talk of resolutions and fitness goals are at an all-time high). However, let’s view health for what it really is: taking care of body and mind over the long-term, so it can take care of you. We all know what we’re supposed to be doing, like, eating and sleeping well, staying hydrated, managing stress, avoiding cigarettes, limiting alcohol, and staying active. Some people have always lived their life this way, while others start paying more attention with age. So, is it ever too late to add fitness to our lifestyle? Of course not…but it turns out some strategies are more effective than others…
Ageing muscles respond well to interval training
The cells in our bodies become damaged with age and do not regenerate as quickly as the cells of a younger person. Quoting a study published by Cell Metabolism, the author explains, “the damage accrued by cells in older muscles is especially severe, because they do not regenerate easily and they become weaker as their mitochondria, which produce energy, diminish in vigor and number.” Essentially, with increasing age, deterioration and weakening of muscles also increases. That said, the findings within this same study were incredibly optimistic and offered a solution: Interval Training, the practice of alternating short periods of high impact exercise with recovery time.
The research conducted across a variety of age groups confirms what we all know: exercise is good for us and can help strengthen the body. Those who lifted weights experienced increased muscle mass after a period of time; those who performed light cardio exercises (such as stationary biking) saw an increase in endurance. After adding exercise to their routine, better blood sugar levels were demonstrated by both groups. Interval training was also studied among several age groups, and that’s where it gets particularly interesting.
The study showed that ageing muscles can actually respond better to exercise than young muscles. This finding was specifically related to those in the study who performed interval training routines. Not only were they stronger or able to endure longer workouts – their genes were in actually better condition than before training began. Biopsies showed healthier mitochondria in participants, as if the interval training had reversed some of the damage associated with aging. The New York Times reported,
“Among the younger subjects who went through interval training, the activity levels had changed in 274 genes, compared with 170 genes for those who exercised more moderately and 74 for the weight lifters. Among the older cohort, almost 400 genes were working differently now, compared with 33 for the weight lifters and only 19 for the moderate exercisers.”
Not only is interval training beneficial for older adults, it can actually reverse some of the physical muscle deterioration generally associated with increasing age; this is truly remarkable!
With the reality of increased life expectancies, concerns for quality of life increase, both for ourselves and our ageing loved ones. This exciting and unexpected discovery empowers us against those concerns. It appears we have more options than just “down” once we’re over that hill. Striving for a fitness routine, particularly one that can slow down and correct muscle damage, is a great change of direction.
(Before trying or suggesting this type of exercise, please consult with a medical professional able to evaluate its suitability to individual physical needs and limitations.)