The good news is that researchers say they have found a way that may reverse aging for older people. The bad news is you are going to have to hit the gym for some high-intensity aerobic training to do it.
For the study, researchers from the Mayo Clinic compared three types of exercise: high-intensity interval training, resistance training and a combination of the two. They found that only high-intensity interval training and combined training “improved aerobic capacity and mitochondrial function for skeletal muscle,” with mitochondrial function being a common problem for older adults.
“We encourage everyone to exercise regularly, but the take-home message for aging adults that supervised high-intensity training is probably best, because, both metabolically and at the molecular level, it confers the most benefits,” says K. Sreekumaran Nair, M.D., Ph.D., a Mayo Clinic endocrinologist and senior researcher on the study.
He added that high-intensity training appears to reverse some aspects of aging and warned that resistance training is also important for increasing muscle strength, suggesting hitting the weights “a couple of days a week.”
Specifically, researchers found that high-intensity interval training reversed aging by improving muscle protein content, which improved “energetic functions” and caused muscle enlargement in older adults.
It also improved cells’ ability to make new proteins, which reverses a “major adverse effect of aging.”
The study monitored older and younger adults who were divided into groups to do each of the three types of exercise over 12 weeks. Researchers then gathered health information 72 hours after participants completed a type of exercise.
The findings were published in the journal Cell Metabolism.