By Lola Augustine Brown
If you’ve ever done any high-intensity aerobic interval training, you’ll know how physically demanding these fitness classes are. You definitely earn those post-workout endorphins, and it doesn’t take long after starting these programs to see a difference in your body.
The benefits of these classes—aerobic workouts with some weight training—apparently go far beyond just making you look buff, though. You get all the usual benefits of increasing your metabolism, boosting your heart health and immune system, and making you feel better in general, but in older people, high intensity exercise may actually restart the production of proteins that keep your body young.
New research out of Oregon State University and the Mayo Clinic published in the academic journal Cell Metabolism suggested that this type of exercise may have an anti-aging benefit, improving how muscles produce energy; as we age, the cells responsible for producing energy become less efficient.
The small-scale study was conducted on 72 men and women, half aged 18 to 30, and the other half aged 65 to 80. They were tested over 12 weeks, after high intensity sprints on a stationary bike, strength training with weights, and a combination of both.
Before starting any new form of exercise, you should of course always consult with your doctor. With these workouts, a hammering heart rate and feeling out of breath are par for the course because they pushing your body hard, so you’ll want to make sure you can handle it before you start.
Photos: iStock/Ridofranz and CREATISTA.