High Intensity Interval Training
Can Lengthen Your Telomeres
And Help You Age Gracefully
But be careful. Too much intensity can be harmful.
Gary is the web designer. He loves his wife and his dog, and he loves everything about Thailand.
The secret to looking young and aging gracefully doesn’t come in a jar of creme. It doesn’t come in a potion or a magic pill. Nobel prize winner, Elizabeth Blackburn, has found the secret of aging gracefully is controlling the length of our Telomeres.
What is a Telomere?
Telomeres are at the tips of our DNA. Scientists have found that young, healthy cells have longer telomeres. When we are young our telomeres are really long. But as we age, our cells divide as we get older. Each time our cells divide, our telomeres get just a little bit shorter than they were before. Fast forward this process into the distant future, and our telomeres have become so short, they can’t divide any longer. This is what causes you to appear older. When your skin cells have shorter telomeres, they become wrinkled. So to put it simply, the longer your telomeres, the healthier you are and the younger you appear.
You Can Control the Length of your Telomeres
Elizabeth Blackburn’s research has some good news. The length of your telomeres can be influenced by the lifestyle that you lead. You can slow down the appearance of aging and the length of your telomeres by doing things such as eating healthier and exercising. Studies have even found your telomeres can become longer by reducing the amount of stress in your life. Your telomeres in your skin cells are longer if you stay out of the sun. This is what our Nobel prize winner, Elizabeth Blackburn has found and shared with us in her book – The Telomere Effect.
Slowing down the aging process by exercising
If you want to look young and healthy, then exercise and diet is the key. Another scientific study has found that different types of exercise affects length of your telomeres. In their study, they took a group of young and old adults and had them perform different types of exercise. They had one group perform HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) and another group perform weight lifting. They looked at the body composition of the groups before and after their exercise routines. And interestingly the article specifically states that High-intensity interval training improved age-related decline in muscle mitochondria.
What is High Intensity Interval Training?
HIIT is an exercise where you get your heart rate really high for a short period lasting 1 or 2 minutes (high intensity), and then rest for 15 to 30 seconds. Then you repeat this cycle of high intensity and rest for about 20 minutes total. Studies have shown that just 20 minutes of HIIT has more benefits than an hour of running.
Where can I perform HIIT?
The beauty of HIIT is it does not require a gym membership, and most videos do not require any equipment. You can find thousands HIIT workout videos on YouTube. My wife and I have several favorites. We started slow at first and chose some of the easier videos, but then we worked our way up to harder workouts as we progressed. We love the free YouTube workouts done by HASfit, Team Body Project, and when we really feel energetic we watch a video from Les Mills Body Combat.
Please note: HIIT is an intense workout, and you really should consult a doctor to see if you are ready for this level of fitness before starting.
One of many free videos from Team Body Project
Team Body project has many
videos based on your fitness level.
Gym Membership is not Required
The secret to aging gracefully is diet and exercise. My wife and I perform our HIIT exercises 5 days a week for about 20 to 30 minutes. We don’t need a gym membership. Our only equipment is a jump rope, and a set of dumbbells.
Before I met my wife, I went to the gym because I enjoyed talking to other people in the HIIT exercise classes. If you do have a gym membership, HIIT classes are a great place to make friends and share motivations.
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