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One Type of Exercise May Slow Aging
Have we finally found the fountain of youth? High-intensity interval training appears to biologically slow the aging process, according to researchers from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

High-intensity interval training helps cells make more proteins to feed their energy-producing machinery, and this is what actually "arrests" the aging process, reports CNN. It can even reverse many age-related changes.

It's powerful medical advice: A little exercise lowers the odds of an early death if you are 65 or older.

What is high-intensity interval training? You don't need expensive equipment or a gym membership to do this. A good pair of running shoes and motivation are all you need. Just like it sounds, high-intensity interval training is short bursts of intense aerobic activity that you do during more moderate exercise. Example: Do an all-out sprint for 30 seconds in the middle of a moderate-pace jog. Repeat it several times. This type of training pushes your heart rate higher.

The study: Led by Dr. Sreekumaran Nair, a diabetes researcher at the Mayo, the team recruited men and women from two age groups. The younger volunteers ranged in age from 18 to 30, while the older volunteers were between 65 and 80. The participants were then randomly assigned to three mixed-age groups. Each group was given a different supervised exercise training program that lasted three months.

Group 1: High-intensity interval training
Three days a week of cycling with high-intensity bouts sandwiched between low-intensity pedaling. Two days a week of moderately difficult treadmill walking.

Group II: Strength training
Two days a week of weightlifting repetitions that targeted both lower and upper body muscles.

Group III: Combined training
Five days a week of cycling (less strenuously than Group 1) and weightlifting (fewer repetitions than Group II).

The results:

  • All types of exercise definitely improved overall fitness as measured by cardiorespiration and increased insulin sensitivity, which lowers the risk for developing type 2 diabetes.

  • Strength training was most effective for building muscle mass and improving strength, which typically declines with age.

  • At the cellular level, high-intensity interval training yielded the biggest benefits. There was a 49 percent increase in mitochondrial capacity in the younger volunteers and a stunning 69 percent increase in the older volunteers. Think of the mitochondria as batteries, which produce much-needed energy.

  • More than the other types of exercise, interval training improved insulin sensitivity.

The takeaway: Exercise may be the best medicine you can take for a long and healthy life.

The study findings were published in the journal Cell Metabolism.

Here is yet another reason to exercise! Find out why exercise not only benefits your muscles and bones, but also your brain.

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