Next time you need a little extra incentive to squeeze a workout in, remember this: A new study performed by researchers at the Mayo Clinic, published in the journal Cell Metabolism, found that high-intensity interval training — HIIT for short, which alternates short bursts of intense effort with periods of lower-intensity movement or recovery — can combat and even reverse signs of aging at the cellular level. How’s that for some icing on your workout cake?
As Health reports, the study split a group of 72 sedentary adults from two age groups — young, at 18 to 30, and older at 65 to 80 — into three groups to complete 12 weeks of a specific workout routine: The first group was assigned a high-intensity interval cycling workout plan, the second group was assigned strength training with weights and the third group was assigned a combined strength-training and cycling workout plan.
In the end, the researchers found that all three groups, not surprisingly, had gained lean muscle mass and upped their aerobic capacity (get it, guys!). But the HIIT group got another perk from their workouts: in the younger group, researchers saw a 49 percent increase in mitochondrial capacity (in non-science speak, that’s a cell’s ability to take in oxygen and produce energy, which decreases with age), and the older group got a — wait for it — 69 percent (!!) increase in mitochondrial capacity. The reason this matters is because with increased mitochondrial capacity comes an increase in ability to be physically active and maintain good cell function.
The HIIT group also saw a bump in the activity of ribosomes. And why should you care, you ask? Well, these guys are responsible for the proteins we need to create muscle cells, which wear out as you age. It is worth noting, though, that the HIIT group didn’t see as much of a bump in strength or lean muscle as the other two groups.
As Psychology Today notes, the study’s researchers are in the process of “fine-tuning prescriptive advice for clinicians that will help tailor targeted interventions to improve overall well-being and reverse age-related decline.” Exercise as an anti-aging tool? We can dig it.
When it comes to the exact workouts the HIIT group in the study did over the course of 12 weeks, they were assigned three days of high-intensity interval cycling, alternating four minutes of high-intensity sprints with three-minute recovery periods, then two days of brisk treadmill walking each week. Feel free to go ahead and copy ‘em. But considering you probably don’t want to leave your house today (we don’t blame you), we’ve rounded up four HIIT YouTube workouts that you can do at home today. As a bonus, if you’re doing ‘em right, HIIT workouts are supposed to be short. Happy double-duty sweating!
1. Love Your Body High-Intensity Interval Training with Tone It Up
2. Advanced Fat-Burning HIIT Cardio Workout with Body Project
3. 20-Minute Bikini HIIT Workout with POPSUGAR Fitness
4. 15-Minute HIIT Workout with Fitness Blender
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