We already know one of the best things we can do for our health is to get regular exercise. But not all workouts are created equal. To get maximum benefit from the time and effort you put into exercising, there’s one type of exercise you might want to start prioritizing over all others.
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) involves quickly switching back and forth between bursts of intense activity and then lower-intensity periods. According to a new study by Mayo Clinic researchers, your HIIT workout may actually help reverse aging while it gets you into shape.
The study, published in the journal Cell Metabolism, compared HIIT, resistance training and combined training at the cellular level. Researchers tracked young and older adults, splitting them into groups to perform each type of exercise for 12 weeks.
Although the study had a small sample size of 72, and more research is still needed, HIIT had the most impressive results. Those who cycled with bursts of energy and then rest periods experienced an improvement in mitochondrial function, which often declines with age.
“We encourage everyone to exercise regularly, but the take-home message for aging adults [is] that supervised high-intensity training is probably best, because, both metabolically and at the molecular level, it confers the most benefits,” says K. Sreekumaran Nair, M.D., Ph.D., a Mayo Clinic endocrinologist and senior researcher on the study, in a Mayo Clinic press release. Nair also encourages HIIT aficionados to use resistance training in their workout plans.
Orange Theory head coach Justin Hoffman told FOX 25 Boston they see aging adults gaining tremendous strength after interval training.
“[The research] kind of just reaffirms what we already believe here,” he said.
There are plenty more reasons to love HIIT. Check some out here.
If, despite the clear benefits of HIIT, intervals aren’t your thing, you should still keep moving. The study found lean body mass, cardio respiratory health and insulin sensitivity improved among all subjects, whether they were doing HIIT, resistance training or combined training.