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Staying Young With Interval Training

The toll that aging takes on our bodies extends to the cellular level. But the damage accrued by cells in older muscles is especially worrisome, because cells do not regenerate easily and, over time, their mitochondria, which produce energy, decrease in strength and number. But here’s some good news! A study published recently in Cell Metabolism suggests that certain types of workouts may mitigate the toll that aging has taken on our mitochondria. Researchers at the Mayo Clinic recently conducted an experiment on the cells of 72 healthy but sedentary men and women who were younger than 30 or older than 64. The subjects were randomly assigned to one of the following groups:

1) vigorous weight training several times a week
2) brief interval training 3 times a week on a stationary bike
3) riding a stationary bike at a moderate pace for 30 minutes a few times a week and light resistance training on other days
4) no exercise.

The subjects who did the interval workouts showed increases in the number and health of their mitochondria. This was especially the case with the older subjects. It seems as if the decline in the cellular health of muscles associated with aging was “corrected” with exercise, especially if it was intense, says Dr. Sreekumaran Nair, an endocrinologist at the Mayo Clinic and the study’s senior author. In fact, older people’s cells responded in some ways more robustly to intense exercise than the cells of the young did — suggesting, he says, that it is never too late to benefit from exercise.

By | 2018-02-13T17:47:04-04:00 April 14th, 2017|0 Comments

Age Is Just a Number

On Saturday, Joyce Snyder, age 71, participated in a Beastanetics workout on the beach in Asbury Park, NJ, making her the oldest person to date to complete a Beastanetics class. Previously, Joyce had been doing yoga and taking long walks around her local reservoir, but high intensity interval training was completely new to her. She said liked the movements and especially the fact that it wasn’t boring. “Before I could get bored, the movement changed and that kept my interest.” Before the class started I stressed to Joyce that she should go at her own pace and stop if she felt she needed to. I also told her I could provide her with alternatives if any of the movements caused pain or too much discomfort. But Joyce didn’t need any alternatives. She did extremely well with the squats, lunges, and planks that preceded the high intensity portion of the workout and also did great with the really tough stuff which included shuffles, backpedaling, mountain climbers, sprints, high knees (in the water!), a lateral crab walk, and a water skiier squat jump (Joyce opted not to jump). Truth be told, Joyce’s daughter is Heather Wagner, who at 47, is one of the fittest and toughest Beasts around, so maybe Joyce’s performance should have come as no surprise. But still, it’s very rare to see somebody in their 60s let alone 70s take part in a bona fide high intensity interval class. Looks like Beastanetics might have a whole new audience waiting in the wings.

By | 2018-02-13T17:47:05-04:00 September 12th, 2016|0 Comments