HIIT is a big, well, “hit” with young athletes looking to maximize their cardio benefits and test their limits…but what about HIIT for older women, and men?
You may not know this, but you should definitely be doing HIIT, ak.a. high intensity interval training, no matter your age. There are so many HIIT benefits, including slower aging, that I’m pretty sure I’m about to blow your mind:
- HIIT turns your cells into anti-aging machines by helping your cells’ mitochondria work better.
- Just one minute of getting your heart rate up to 70% of the max (which HIIT does) is just as beneficial for your body as 45 minutes of cardio! In fact, this study followed people who did one minute of HIIT (in this case, sprints) as part of a 10-minute exercise, versus people who did 50 minutes of regular exercise, with no HIIT. The study followed their progress for 12 weeks. At the end, of course both groups were way healthier. Both groups’ max oxygen consumption went up by almost 20%! What does that mean? The higher your max oxygen uptake is, the more oxygen gets transported to the tissues in your body, which of course improves your aerobic abilities and cardiovascular health. So, again, no matter how you do cardio, it’s really healthy, but doing HIIT means takes up way less time and overall energy.
- Because it encourages your cells to kick it into high gear…you get more fat loss than you do with normal exercise. You’ll see it happening in the 24 hours after your workout and be able to really visualize those HIIT benefits (benef-HIITs? OK, I’m done), even if you think your metabolism has slowed with age. That’s because this type of exercise increases your metabolism using a process called “Excess Post Exercise Oxygen Consumption.” And, you may have guessed it — that’s directly related to the whole oxygen consumption thing we talked about earlier. These small bursts of intense exercise put you at an oxygen deficit, but don’t worry, it’s not dangerous. Instead, your body will get the oxygen back, both by increasing oxygen uptake as I mentioned, and by burning fat and calories faster, to get the oxygen! So bursts of HIIT = bursts of fast metabolism and fat-burning to go along with it, every time!
- It’s so easy to do a HIIT workout at home, or anywhere!
OK, so, now we get to the best part of all, our question from earlier: what about HIIT for older women and men?
You may have been scared off a little bit by the idea of doing a more intense workout, and may not be capable of periods of all-out exercise. (And it might be dangerous for you to try, so please consult your doctor before starting any training, and, obviously, if you experience dizziness or pain during a workout, stop.)
Know what? That’s TOTALLY FINE, because you can still get all the HIIT benefits!
One example of HIIT is sprinting for one minute, in a 10-minute walk. But that may not be a possible part of a routine for HIIT for older women. Again, that’s OK, because there are HIIT exercises with less exertion/strain.
Swimming is a good example:
- Warm up slowly until you can swim at maximum intensity for 20 seconds.
- Swim more slowly for 90 seconds.
- Swim as fast as you can, again, for 20 seconds. You should repeat this cycle 4 – 6 times.
Can’t swim or get to the pool? You’re in luck! This same exact easy-to-remember pattern applies to running and cycling too.
(Or any other exercise where you can repeat a difficult, fast move for 20 seconds…then cool down…then speed up again…etc. Aerobics like PiYo, or lifting light dumbbells above your head as fast as you can, are good ways to get in some HIIT!)
Here are a bunch more HIIT exercises that aren’t too intense that you could try out!
I want to reiterate: HIIT is really good for you, but listening to your body is even better. HIIT for older women is a good idea only if your doctor says it’s OK, and if you know your body’s limits without going too far and hurting yourself. As great as HIIT is, beyond the cell + oxygen bonuses, it doesn’t do anything that can’t be accomplished with regular cardio and a healthy balanced diet, which is definitely WAY more important.
Anyway, happy exercising — whatever your routine is, do it with a smile! ☺