Can high intensity aerobic training  reverse signs of aging?

A recent study from the Mayo Clinic suggests that high intensity aerobic training can reverse many age-related differences at the cellular level.

“Researchers have long suspected that the benefits of exercise extend down to the cellular level, but know relatively little about which exercises help cells rebuild key organelles that deteriorate with aging.” Mayo Clinic

How was the study performed?

Mayo researchers compared high-intensity interval training, resistance training and combined training.

Participants who were both young and older adults  performed these different types of exercise programs over 12 weeks.

Researchers  then followed metabolic and cell changes.

Data was collected after each type of exercise.

Younger participants who performed interval training saw a 49% increase in mitochondrial capacity. Older volunteers saw a 69% increase in mitochondrial function.

What happens at the cellular level when we age?

There is a decline in mitochondrial  function.

Mitochondria are known as the powerhouses of the cell, they produce energy.

Muscle is unique because muscle cells do not divide and replenish themselves as many other cells in our body do.

As we get older we lose our muscle mass.

What is high intensity interval training?

High intensity interval training is basically just aerobic training with short bouts of strengthening in between.

Weights do not have to be used. For example, if you were doing a brisk walk then ran for 1 minute this would be considered a high intensity interval training.

Benefits of high intensity interval training

“High-intensity interval training in aerobic exercises such as biking and walking  caused cells to make more proteins for their energy-producing mitochondria and their protein-building ribosomes, effectively stopping aging at the cellular level.”

Mitochondrial cellular function declined with age but improved with training.

Exercise training improved the cell’s machinery which is responsible for making new proteins.

Exercise substantially enhanced the ribosomal proteins which made new proteins.

Ribosomes are our bodies protein building blocks.

High-intensity intervals also improved muscle protein, this in turn increased energy.

Exercise restores or prevents deterioration of mitochondria and ribosomes in muscle cells.

What benefits were noticed with all of the different types of exercises?

All types of training in this study whether it be high-intensity interval training, resistance training or combined training improved insulin sensitivity and respiratory function.

All  of the exercises improved lean body mass

Muscle strength and High intensity interval training

“Increase in muscle strength occurred only modestly with high-intensity interval training but occurred with resistance training alone or when added to the aerobic training.”

Adding resistance training is important to achieve significant muscle strength.

Important considerations

There is no medicine that can replace exercise.

This study was published in Journal of Cell Metabolism

What do you think about high intensity interval training?

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