The latest publication of Cell Metabolism, a medical journal, included a study that highlighted an unexpected effect of high intensity interval training: the capacity to slow the aging process. As it turns out, the secret lies in the production of proteins.
High intensity interval training (HIIT) is a type of exercise that has been popular in fitness circles for some time now. It refers to a technique in which the exerciser mixes in short, intense spurts of extra heightened activity with longer stretches of moderate activity. For instance, sprinting a quarter mile as soon as you finish jogging a mile, and then repeating that again.
Let’s get one thing straight: as long as you’re doing any type of legitimate physical activity, you’re doing something right. If you’re brand new to fitness and exercise, you probably shouldn’t be worrying about high intensity interval training — you should be focused on consistency and establishing a baseline level of fitness that will allow you to get stronger and healthier as you continue training.
However, for those people who are already active and want an aerobic edge that might even slow down the aging process, high intensity interval training might be just the ticket.
As it turns out, on a cellular level, you need protein production in order to sustain cell energy. This energy is stored by your mitochondria, which function as a kind of biological battery. The recent study in Cell Metabolism indicated that HIIT exercise may result in as much as 49% increase in mitochondrial capacity among young people who engage in it — and as much as 69% in older people who do!
When you age, the production quality of the proteins made by your body inevitably degrades. This is largely what is responsible for your decline in functioning in many physical areas as an adult. However, it appears that engaging in HIIT exercise may energize your protein production, in a sense, causing fresher and more complete proteins to take the place of the old ones. In essence, this is in direct resistance to the process that would otherwise naturally occur when aging.
At Urgent 9, we’ve always taken the stance that exercise (and nutrition) is medicine. It’s preventive medicine! The more you commit to a healthy lifestyle, the greater your quality and longevity of life.