Is High-Intensity Interval Training The Best Anti-Aging Tool We Have Today?

Everyone is looking for a fountain of youth; and many believe it is the kind of thing you find at the end of the rainbow. That is, of course, until you realize that the end of the rainbow is a few mile run away.

New studies confirm that exercise keeps you young, but it a specific type of exercise can literally add life to your years. Published Tuesday in the journal Cell Metabolism, the study says that high-intensity interval training encourages cells to make more protein in order to feed the energy factories in your body: the ribosomes.

Lead study author Dr. Sreekumaran Nair explains, “Any exercise is better than being sedentary,” adding, however, that high-intensity interval training is “highly efficient” in terms of reversing many age-related changes.

The diabetes researcher at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota goes on to say, “Proteins sustain environmental damage and the damaged proteins have to be … replaced with newly synthesized (produced) proteins.”

But just what is “high-intensity interval training”? Also known as HIIT, this type of exercise consists of short bursts of intense aerobic activity within a longer time frame of more moderate exercise. This might be a two or three mile, moderately-paced jog with intermittent, 30-second bursts of springing.
Nair goes on to say, “With aging in sedentary people, production of many protein molecules decline. … Gradually the quantity of these protein molecules decrease causing functional decline.”

And by analyzing muscle biopsies, the study researchers learned that exercise does, in fact, boost cellular production of mitochondrial proteins as well as the proteins necessary for overall muscle growth.

Nair continues, “Exercise training, especially high intensity interval training, enhanced the machinery (ribosomes) to produce proteins, increased the production of proteins and enhanced protein abundance in muscle,” adding that these results show us “the substantial increase in mitochondrial function that occurred, especially in the older people, is due to increase in protein abundance of muscle.”

More specifically, the study found that young people who participate in HIIT could have a 49 percent better mitochondrial capacity. And more importantly, perhaps, the older group showed a 69 percent improved capacity.

Nair concludes, then, “Based on everything we know, there’s no substitute for these exercise programs when it comes to delaying the aging process. These things we are seeing cannot be done by any medicine.”