The multifarious benefits of regular exercise are known to improve the health and quality of life of our elderly. Have you heard about the benefits of high intensity interval training for our elderly?
High intensity interval training, HIIT, is a cardiovascular exercise method alternating bursts of intensive anaerobic exercise and periods of low effort activity. Many people might have the misperception that HIIT is for the younger population who can handle the intensity. The fact is HIIT does not consist of an unchangeable routine; the duration and intensity of the exercises can be adjusted to suit everyone’s fitness level.
There are several combinations of low-impact HIIT workout routines that are beneficial to our elderly. For beginners, it is advisable to introduce a 2:1 ratio for each cycle of low-intensity activity and high-intensity activity. For example, a daily walk in the park can become a HIIT routine. You can start with alternating between 5 minutes of walking at a comfortable pace and 2 to 3 minutes of jogging or power walking. It is important to listen to your body and adjust the workout routine so that it is challenging yet within your capacity.
HIIT for Better Heart and Lung Health
Studies have shown that the repetition process of putting your body through intense exercise, then allowing it to recover, improved both respiratory and cardiovascular health in aging adults. In a group of elderly above 65 years old, there was an impressive 69 percent increase in their capability to take in oxygen.
Exercising your heart and lungs enhances your overall aerobic capacity. Aerobic capacity, otherwise known as VO2 max or cardiopulmonary capacity, is the level of maximum oxygen consumption when you workout. As you exercise, your lungs take in oxygen and convey oxygenated blood to your cells, heart, and muscle groups all over your body. This is especially beneficial for our elderly who tend to have declining heart and lung functions.
HIIT for Muscle Regeneration
Our mitochondria function declines in the natural aging process. Mitochondria are described as powerhouses for cells, they help transform the energy from our food intake into energy that the cell can use. An increase in aerobic capacity accentuates oxygenated blood’s flow to muscle tissue. This in turn improves the mitochondrial density. HIIT can help to reverse the decline in age-related mitochondria function and proteins required for muscle building.
HITT for Brain Health Boost
Forgetfulness tends to be a part of aging. Blessedly, incorporating HITT into your exercise routine can help give your memory a boost. Regular high intensity interval training has been found to improve especially our elderly’s high-interference memory, which is our brain’s ability to differentiate memories. This is owing to a rise in the protein that aids the growth of our brain cells.
HITT for Parkinson’s Disease Relief
HIIT, when done regularly, can improve flexibility, mobility, and muscle rigidity which is prevalent in patients with Parkinson’s disease. HIIT may also relieve the deeper effects of Parkinson’s disease, providing our loved ones with a better quality of life. A recent study has shown that after 12 weeks of high intensity interval training, patients displayed significant improvement in neuronal activity and delay in the progression of Parkinson’s disease.
The best type of workout is the one you will do consistently. HIIT can be an enjoyable workout with proper safety precautions especially for our elderly.