It can be hard to know what kind of exercise is best for our health, and it only gets trickier as we get older. It might not be safe for us to, say, keep up our running routine, or even walk as much as we once did. But staying active is essential for good health, and if you’re an older adult, a type of exercise called High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) might be just what you’ve been looking for.
A recent study examining the effects of HIIT on blood pressure in adults over 60 found that it can boost heart health and keep blood pressure in a healthy range. Researchers divided 266 participants, aged 60 or older, into three groups. One group did HIIT exercise, one did moderate exercise, and the third group did no exercise at all. The study lasted four weeks, and in the end, participants who did HIIT showed a significant reduction in blood pressure. (It’s worth noting that moderate exercise showed similar results — meaning it’s possible that older adults can see the same benefits from less intense activities.)
What is HIIT?
With HIIT, you repeat short rounds of several motions, each only lasting from 30 seconds to three minutes. Basically, you can do any form of intense exercise for a few minutes, alternating with a lighter activity for a few minutes — hence the “interval” part of HIIT. While HIIT may be a harder workout than your usual routine, the health benefits can be amazing. Since it includes lots of cardio, it helps boost heart health. And according to WebMD, it can also help you lose weight, build muscle, and even boost your metabolism.
How often should you try HIIT?
With the clear health benefits, it’s no wonder HIIT is a popular exercise. While it might be a bit intense at first, building stamina is key in incorporating it into your life.
Though the study didn’t immediately specify how many times participants should exercise per week, a previous look into HIIT, researchers found that doing 90 minutes of HIIT per week was enough to reap most of the health benefits. You can break that up into three 30 minute sessions, which meets the weekly amount most doctors recommend for exercise. No more worrying about your next workout!
HIIT is a great choice of exercise for older adults — or really, people of any age — who are looking for a way to get healthy and stay in shape!