By now, I’m sure that everyone is aware of the numerous benefits exercise has on the human body i.e. weight loss, cognitive function etc. What I want to expand on now is that of the anti-ageing effects that exercise has on a person.
Sarcopenia (also known as muscle loss) was once seen as a side effect of a range of ageing diseases; it is now seen as a cause for such diseases and frailty. If muscle density is lost, it can lead to falls and a body that is much more easily injured. Starting regular resistance (strength) training as an older adult has been shown to put a huge decline on the effects of sarcopenia, whereas maintaining regular resistance through younger years and during the ageing process has shown staggering results; some individuals even having the bodily functions of somebody half their age.
A lot of people are under the impression that in the later years of life, certain forms of exercise should be taken off the table and replaced with less intense options such as walking which for some individuals may be the case (because of injuries, illnesses etc.)
Recent studies have shown an unexpected form of exercise is reigning supreme for the twilight years. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) has been proven to put a stop in cellular aging and has been shown to rejuvenate cells that repair damage in the body; these are things that so far cannot be done with any form of medication. 90% of the energy needed to keep us alive and support organ function is done by the mitochondria in our cells; this function typically declines with age. HIIT training in older adults improves mitochondria efficiency by almost 70%. That is a HUGE difference.
Just so I am clear, I am in no way condoning frail elderly people to head outside and start doing sprints to increase their quality of life. But if you have been checked out by a doctor and have a fitness professional by your side – there is absolutely no reason to avoid getting that heart rate up a little higher than it would during a walk and you may be amazed with the results.