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Change up your exercise routine by changing its intensity

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It’s easy to think our days are jam packed with activities and there’s simply not enough time for just one more item.  However, some items shouldn’t be on the arbitrary schedule of things to do when you have time.  One of those things is exercise.  People who don’t exercise on a regular schedule see exercise as a major interruption in their day but the reality is that you can benefit from just minutes of exercising a day and after a while you may decide those minutes should have a bigger part of your day.  Here’s some examples of exercising in minutes or even seconds that can help you get on the road to better health.

A McMaster University study published in November of this year found that just 3 minutes of intense intermittent exercise per week, when coupled with a 30 minute total training time could increase blood vessel structure and function as much as seen by individuals who exercised 40 to 60 minutes at a shot.

A study out of Scotland found that up to 10 six second sprints of all-out pedaling on a stationary bike followed by a minute of rest was enough to lower blood pressure by an average of 9 percent when done twice a week.  The regimen was enough to significantly improve cardiovascular health and insulin sensitivity.  That study and others suggest that the high intensity workouts can be enough to significantly alter the risk of diabetes.

A classic example of high intensity interval training (HIIT) involves running sprints, followed by walking or slow jogging but seniors may find such a workout too intense.  A milder form of HIIT is a brisk walk over a hill so that you work hard going up the hill (or stairs) and cool down going down.  Here’s a blog by a 70+ year old interested in staying physically fit who does some HIIT exercises with milder forms of resistance training and weightlifting.

According to the Mayo Clinic, the benefits of HIIT are that:

  • You’ll burn more calories
  • You’ll improve your aerobic capacity
  • You’ll keep boredom at bay
  • You don’t need special equipment

As we age, our bodies have different levels of abilities than what we had as younger individuals.  Interval training isn’t for everyone.  Before starting any exercise program, talk to your doctor then find a program that is age-appropriate.

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