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Regular interval training can reverse age-related changes in the body

Regular interval training can reverse age-related changes in the body


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Experts are studying the effects of various training methods
Adequate exercise is important for overall physical health. Any form of activity is better for the human body than a sedentary lifestyle. Researchers have now found that so-called high-intensity interval training (HIIT) is highly efficient when it comes to reversing many age-related changes.

Scientists at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester found that high-intensity interval training effectively helps protect the body from the effects of aging. The doctors published the results of their study in the journal "Cell Metabolism".

What is high intensity interval training?
The so-called high-intensity interval training includes short, sudden increases in intensive aerobic activity within a range of more moderate exercises. This means that, for example, you sprinkle short sprints for 30 seconds while jogging, explains the author Dr. Sreekumaran Nair from the Mayo Clinic.

Subjects carried out different training programs
For their study, the researchers examined women and men from two different age groups. The young participants were between the ages of 18 and 30. The older group consisted of people between the ages of 65 and 80. These subjects were then divided into three mixed age groups and participated in various differently supervised training programs, the researchers explain. These programs lasted for three months.

Training content of the high-intensity interval group
The high-intensity interval training group cycled three days a week. There were always high-intensity intervals between cycling with a low intensity, the authors explain. The subjects also trained on a treadmill at moderate speed two days a week.

The second group only did strength training
Another group was concerned with strength training. During the exercises, the lower muscles were trained two days a week. The experts explained that the upper body muscles were trained on two other days.

Third group uses a combined program of exercises
The third group did a combined training. This consisted of less strenuous endurance exercises than in the first group. Strength training was also done with higher weights but fewer repetitions than in the second group. These exercises took place a total of five days a week, the doctors add.

Experts assess various aspects of physiology
In the groups there were clear differences in the time the different participants spent training. Before and after each training session, the researchers assessed various aspects of the physiology of each subject. These included, for example, the Body Mass Index (BMI), the amount of muscle mass and insulin sensitivity, which can be an indication of diabetes, the authors explain. Routine biopsies were also performed on the volunteers. With the help of a biochemical analysis, a so-called comprehensive fingerprint of the muscles could also be created.

Any form of physical exercise improves overall performance
When analyzing the data collected, Dr. Nair and his colleagues found that all forms of exercise had improved overall performance. In addition, the increased insulin sensitivity reduced the likelihood of developing diabetes.

High-intensity interval training leads to the greatest advantages at the cellular level
Although all types of exercises helped build muscle, strength training was most effective for building muscle mass and improving strength, which typically decreases with age, the researchers report. At the cellular level, high-intensity interval training has shown the greatest benefits, the scientists further explain. In the so-called HIIT group in particular, the researchers found that the younger participants in the study saw an increase in the so-called mitochondrial capacities of 49 percent. The older participants saw an increase of 69 percent.

Interval training improves insulin sensitivity
The interval training carried out also improved the insulin sensitivity of the volunteers. This improvement was stronger than with any other form of exercise. The researchers compared protein concentration data to understand why interval training led to such benefits.

The production of protein molecules decreases in sedentary people
Proteins suffer damage from the effects of our environment. The damaged proteins have to be replaced by newly synthesized (produced) proteins, the exerts report. With age, the production of many protein molecules in sedentary people decrease. The gradually reduced amount of these protein molecules then causes a functional decline.

High-intensity interval training improves protein production
Training, especially HIIT, improved protein production and increased protein frequency in muscles. The considerable increase in mitochondrial function, which has mainly occurred in the elderly, is related to the increased protein supply in the muscles, the authors explain.

HIIT appears to reverse the age-related decline in some cases
In some cases, HIIT actually appears to reverse the age-related decline in both mitochondrial function and muscle building proteins. The effects of the training can lead to a transformation of the mitochondria. This could explain why physical activity and training support our health in so many different ways, the scientists say.

Results could lead to the development of special drugs
Because muscle, brain and heart cells wear out and are not easily replaceable, the function of these three types of tissue decreases with age, explains the author Dr. Nair. If physical exercise prevents or even restores the deterioration of mitochondria and ribosomes in muscle cells, such training may also have the same effect on other tissues, the expert suggests. The results could allow researchers in the future to develop drugs that produce some of the benefits of exercise. This would particularly help people who, for health reasons, cannot carry out sports training, explains Dr. (as)

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