High intensity interval training, also known as HIIT, is one of the most effective of the “new” workouts. It has really only been popular for the last 5 or 6 years, but already it has been proven to be a highly efficient workout that offers a wide range of health benefits. Study after study has found the myriad benefits of the workout, proving it to be far superior to traditional resistance training and aerobic conditioning. Here are some of the primary anti-aging benefits of HIIT training:
Better Cardiovascular Function
Any exercise that pushes your heart to its absolutely maximum intensity is going to be great for your cardiovascular function. HIIT exercise burns a lot of the fat floating in your bloodstream, decreasing your total cholesterol levels. This in turn reduces the risk of plaque formation and arterial hardening/narrowing, which can seriously decrease your chances of cardiovascular disease. But even if you don’t have a risk of heart disease, you can drastically improve the function of your heart and circulatory system by doing HIIT workouts.
Most people focus on clearing out the arteries of cholesterol, but what about the muscle responsible for doing all the hard work? You have to give your heart some love as well, training the muscle and strengthening it. Both aerobic and anaerobic exercise can improve heart function, and HIIT is highly effective for building cardiac muscle that pumps blood. The more you strengthen your heart, the better!
One of the main anti-aging benefits of HIIT training is its ability to boost your metabolism. Aerobic training kicks up your metabolism while you’re working out, but after a few minutes (5-10), things go back to normal. Resistance training, on the other hand, keeps your metabolism firing for 2-3 hours after your workout. HIIT does exactly the same thing! You’ll find you burn more calories all day long, thanks to the metabolism-boosting effects of your HIIT workout.
Resistance training burns more calories, but aerobic exercise activates more stored fat. With HIIT training, you get the best of both worlds. The anaerobic portion of the workout (sprinting) will burn through calories, while the low intensity (walk/jog) portion of the workout will encourage your body to burn more fat. The result: more calories burned in less time, and with a lot of those calories coming from body fat. It’s a win-win that will lead to serious improvement in your health. And yes, decreasing your body fat can seriously counteract the effects of aging. Visceral fat can lead to a wide range of health problems, which only get worse as you get older. By decreasing your BMI, you can reduce your risk of age-related health problems.
Increased Muscle and Bone Density
As you grow older, the density of both your muscles and bones tend to decrease. With HIIT workouts, however, you’re giving your body a reason to keep feeding those bones and muscles the nutrients needed to maintain and even increase their density. Regular resistance and high intensity workouts can counteract the degenerative effects of aging, keeping your muscles and bones stronger for many more years.
Reversed Cellular Aging
A study published in Cell Metabolism found that HIIT exercise boosted mitochondrial activity by 49%, meaning the cells were more effective at producing and using energy. Older participants saw a 69% increase in mitochondrial activity. This increase can lead to better oxygen uptake and more energy production. This maintains healthy cellular function, preventing and even reversing the effects of aging on your body’s cells.