Can You Guess the Best Workout for Anti-Aging?

We can’t deny it: Your body reacts to each additional candle on your birthday cake. As you age, your cell function decreases, bones lose density, joints show signs of wear and muscle tissue and strength decrease while body fat increases.

http://www.merckmanuals.com/home/older-people%E2%80%99s-health-issues/the-aging-body/changes-in-the-body-with-aging

You might not be able to turn back the clock, but you can slow the effects of aging on your body through exercise.

Both strength and power training are critically important as we age,” says Alice Bell, PT, DPT, a spokesperson for the American Physical Therapy Association. “In order to effectively manage the impact of aging on muscle strength and power, it is critical to incorporate high-intensity strength training into your activity regimen.”

WHAT IS THE BEST ANTI-AGING EXERCISE?

New research shows that certain forms of exercise have the most profound anti-aging effects.

http://www.cell.com/cell-metabolism/fulltext/S1550-4131(17)30099-2

A study, published in the journal Cell Metabolism, assigned participants in two age groups — 18–30 and 65–80 — and divided them into three training categories: high-intensity interval training (HIIT), weight training, or a combination of the two.

After three months, researchers compared muscle biopsies of the groups and found that strength training increased muscle mass and HIIT increased mitochondrial activity, a cellular process that declines with age and is associated with increased fatigue and inability for muscles to burn excess blood sugar. The HIIT/strength training combination had the biggest effect in older adults, helping to decrease aging at the cellular level.

In a statement about the research, K. Sreekumaran Nair, MD, a diabetes researcher at the Mayo Clinic and senior author of the study noted, “These things we are seeing cannot be done by any medicine.”

The research points to the benefits of incorporating HIIT and strength training into your routine as you get older.

“The rate at which we lose muscle mass varies dependent upon our level of activity and engagement in meaningful exercise,” Bell says.

In other words, you’re more apt to maintain muscle mass and keep body fat in check as you age if you’re physically fit.

To maximize the benefits, Bell suggests incorporating HIIT and strength training into each workout.

HIIT is defined as mixing intense bursts of exercise with short periods of active rest; a run-walk combination is a good example of HIIT. Interval training can be incorporated into activities ranging from walking and biking to swimming. [Editor: A push sled (Prowler) is arguably among the best of these.] These bursts keep your heart rate up and help burn fat and, according to Bell, “High-intensity interval training is considered one of the best ways to improve cardiorespiratory and metabolic function.”

BUT DON’T FORGET STRENGTH TRAINING

Strength training is also important to maintain good health as you age. A 2016 study published in the journal Preventive Medicine found that older adults who did strength training at least twice per week had a 46% lower odds of death from all causes during the study period, a 41% lower risk of cardiac death and 19% lower odds of dying from cancer than those who did not strength train.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26921660

Bell suggests building strength by training with weights 2–3 times per week. “In order to optimize results a person must be utilizing the appropriate amount of resistance, performing the exercises with proper [form] and building in recovery time,” she says.

What about back health? Doesn’t loading the spine with weight cause problems? No. In fact, evidence indicates the opposite. Loading the spine with an appropriate, measured amount of weight improves back health.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/26409630/
Can specific loading through exercise impart healing or regeneration of the intervertebral disc?

RESULTS: Research from animal model studies suggests the existence of a dose-response relationship between loading and regenerative processes. Although high loading at high volumes and frequencies might accelerate degeneration or produce disc injury, high loading of low volume and at low frequency appears to induce potentially regenerative mechanisms, including improvements in disc proteoglycan content, matrix gene expression, rate of cell apoptosis, and improved fluid flow and solute transport.

CONCLUSIONS: Research suggests a dose-response relationship between loading and disc regenerative processes and that the loading pattern typically used in the lumbar extension resistance exercise interventions (high load, low volume, and low frequency) might impart healing or regeneration of the intervertebral discs.

Strength training makes the body produce growth factors and hormones that greatly reduce cellular apoptosis, which is the cause of aging. In addition, it builds lean body mass and bone density, countering sarcopenia (the decline of skeletal muscle tissue with age) and frailty.
http://startingstrength.com/article/barbell_training_is_big_medicine

These effects occur only when (or, they occur best when) enough weight is lifted. Lighter is not better.

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