15. April 2016 · Comments Off on HIIT Workouts and Anti-Aging · Categories: Health, Physical Fitness

The Many Benefits of HIIT

High intensity interval training (HIIT) has been getting more and more attention lately for a reason. Unlike other workout methods, HIIT takes advantage of how your body is made to bring some unique benefits to the table. Let's take a look at what HIIT does for your body!

The reason why I like burst training so much is because it has been proven to have a positive global effect on the body.

1. Anti-Aging

According to a paper presentation at the 2012 European Society of Cardiology annual meeting:

  • There is a direct relationship between physical activity and life expectancy.
  • Exercise can activate telomerase, a well-known anti-aging enzyme.
  • A single workout can activate telomerase in circulating cells.
  • High intensity interval training increases telomerase as well as reduces p53 expression, a very interesting protein in humans that contributes to premature aging and tumor suppression.

In addition to affecting DNA, the wide variety of anti-aging HIIT benefits include:

  • Firmer skin/less wrinkles.
  • Increased energy.
  • Boosted metabolism.
  • Improved libido.
  • Muscle tone improvement.
  • Reduced body fat.

2. Balancing Key Hormones With Burst Training

In addition to be “anti-aging,” the most important benefits of high intensity interval training is that it can help balance hormones responsible for weight gain and unhealthy eating habits.

Ghrelin

Ghrelin is the hormone responsible for long-term weight gain and short term eating habits (aka the “munchies. Also know as the “hunger hormone,” it is produced in the stomach is believed to be the only hormone that can stimulate appetite. Essentially, it’s the main contributor to sweet, salty and fried food cravings. It is interesting to note that ghrelin also has the unique tendency to slow down fat usage and is a critical piece of the food reward-cascade controlled by the mesolimbic dopaminergic system in the brain. Some other key facts about ghrelin that you should know about are:

  • It is released directly in response to stressful situations, which explains why so many people have the tendency to eat when they are stressed.
  • It perpetuates the stress-cycle, which contributes to weight gain.
  • It also “primes the brain” for post-traumatic stress disorder.

According to UT Southwestern Medical Center Associate Professor Jeffrey Zigman, MD, PhD, ghrelin has such a profound on stress that, “This helps explain certain complex eating behaviors and may be one of the mechanisms by which obesity develops in people exposed to psychosocial stress.”
– via Dr. Axe

Stopping the Clock With HIIT

Not only is HIIT great for your fitness in a ton of ways, but it has anti-aging benefits as well. While any form of exercise will help a bit to slow the clock down, some methods of exercise do so much more for your anti-aging goals than others. Here's a closer look at how HIIT preserves your youthful glow!

One change that happens as you age is you produce less growth hormone. Along with the growth hormone decline comes an increase in body fat, especially visceral fat, deep abdominal fat that increases the risk for health problems like type 2 diabetes and heart disease. This age-related decrease in growth hormone is also linked with reduced cognitive function, declining bone health, and adverse changes in lipids and immune function.

What does all of this have to do with HIIT training? High-intensity interval training, because you do it at a high intensity, activates fast-twitch muscle fibers, “strength and power” fibers that stimulate the greatest increase in growth hormone. When you do moderate-intensity cardio, you’re mostly using slow-twitch fibers, ones that are optimized for endurance. You’ll get more aerobically fit by targeting slow-twitch fibers with moderate-intensity aerobic exercise, but you won’t get the same growth hormone “kick.”

HIIT Training and Metabolic Health

With age, insulin sensitivity decreases. That’s one reason type 2 diabetes incidence goes up with age, and it becomes more difficult to lose weight. As cells become less sensitive to insulin, more insulin is released into your bloodstream and insulin resistance ensues. Estimates are that 60% of the population has some degree of insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is a risk factor for age-related problems like type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some forms of cancer.  Research shows even short periods of high-intensity exercise boosts insulin sensitivity, which helps keep you metabolically healthy. HIIT training may be especially effective for people with insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.
– via Cathe Friedrich

Have you tried HIIT as a part of your anti-aging strategy? Will you consider it now that you know the anti-aging benefits HIIT offers?

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