The wonderful thing about it being spring here in the northern hemisphere is that it’s far easier to get outside and do some exercise every single day if you want. Being out in the fresh air and watching the sun as it rises – or sets – is wonderfully calming and helps bring even the most aggravating problems into perspective. Happiness and the mind-body connection is a known factor in slowing down premature ageing, but did you know that if you can incorporate just one high intensity interval training (HIIT) workout into your week that it has a powerful age defying effect?
The science is this; experts at the renowned Mayo Clinic recently conducted a study which found that HIIT workouts can reverse certain aspects of ageing at a cellular level. Not only do they improve lean body mass and insulin resistance, they also help improve the functioning of the mitochondria in our muscles’ cells. This in turn boosts your metabolism, so you lose weight, and slows signs of ageing, as well as giving you more energy and overall better health including a stronger heart. (Worth noting is that you need to combine HIIT workouts with strength training if you want to significantly improve muscle strength, which is crucial for protecting your body against osteoporosis as well as spine issues as women hit menopause).
But, there’s more. Remember we talked about the importance of keeping your telomeres happy recently? HIIT workouts are said by scientists to help protect your telomeres from shortening, and as they’re like little biological ticking time-bombs, that’s another solid reason to consider taking up age defying high intensity interval training workouts.
HIIT also stimulates production of your body’s human growth hormone (HGH). This is something which our bodies produce less of as we age, which often results in a lack of energy, an inability to sleep, unwanted weight gain, and increased PMT and mood swings, as well as thinning skin. Anything that stimulates production of this master hormone, which keeps all of our other hormones in check as well, is a huge bonus. A recent study showed that in addition to increased fat burning, HIIT stimulates your HGH production by up to 450% for a whopping twenty four hours after you have finished your workout.
What is HIIT?
Now we’ve looked at the benefits, let’s take a closer look at what HIIT actually is:
“This is a really full on workout and yes, it truly is age defying and I can pretty much guarantee that you’ll feel happy that you took it up once you’ve got a few classes under your belt,” Chris Jones, who is a registered personal trainer, tells Lumity Life.
“Don’t expect to be scrolling through your ‘phone, chatting to friends or watching TV. You will push your body to the limit and be really sweating and barely able to breathe during a HIIT session, especially during the first few while your body gets used to them. That said, you will feel brilliant afterwards because they give you such a powerful endorphin boost.
“HIIT is a workout that I recommend doing with a trainer. Don’t try and do it on your own at home while watching a video online. For proper results you need to at least have an expert overseeing you, or go to a class. You don’t want to injure yourself or not do it properly.
“What’s brilliant is it’s a workout that has lots of variety. No two workouts are the same and you can really turn up the music and get really inside your body, which helps you forget all the problems buzzing around in your mind. It’s basically intense bursts of activity, followed by less intense bursts of activity. You can do running, jumping, skipping, pulling ropes – all kinds of different activities. You don’t need equipment so you don’t have to do it in a gym and I prefer to do my classes outside in the summer months.
“You will see results pretty fast, which usually inspires people to keep going. You’ll feel challenged and like you have accomplished something, you will lose weight if that’s your goal, and you’ll feel healthier, happier and younger. I love workouts that accomplish several things at once and if you can factor in something that’s both age defying and fun into your week, then it will spill over into other areas of your life and you’ll find a renewed sense of focus and purpose.”
We’re sold. If you’re looking for new season exercise class inspiration, take a look at Jen Aniston’s calorie melting, toxin clearing workout here. Or perhaps you fancy ditching the gym, recapturing your youth and working out the way you did back when you were a kid? If you only have ten minutes a day to workout, no problem – here’s what Kate Hudson does to stay fit and healthy.
And, if you’d like an extra nudge to get moving, here’s Lumity fan Melanie Chisholm doing a workout at the weekend.