Higher Intensity Exercise and Aging: The Benefits Never End


We know that exercise is good for us, but many people don’t understand what kind of exercise is best for long-term health. Also, as we age, we often receive messages that we should slow down or not work out too hard. 

We’re here to speak to both of those topics. The short of it is, studies show that vigorous exercise is beneficial for older adults. And when we say older adults, we’re talking about age ranges up into the 70s. As we like to say at Body Balance, it’s never too late to get healthy. 

The What of “Vigorous Exercise” 

Your body was meant to move, no matter what your age. Exercise in just about any form is good for you, barring any health conditions. That last part, about health conditions, extends to everything we say here. Always follow your doctor’s recommendations, first and foremost. 

Assuming your doctor gives the go-ahead that you’re healthy to work out, we’re advocates of HIIT or High Intensity Interval Training for people of all ages. 

If that term isn’t familiar to you, a HIIT workout involves short bursts of intense exercise, say 45 seconds to a minute, broken up with periods of rest, generally around a minute. The type of exercise and length of exercise and rest can vary. Typically, a HIIT workout will involve many different exercises that work various parts of your body. 

There will be some cardiovascular work, like running, jumping, skipping, or cycling, and some weight lifting or body-weight exercises, along with other types of movement. The total time of the workout is generally between 45 minutes and an hour.

A general guideline for HIIT workouts in terms of how much intensity is enough intensity, is that your efforts should be challenging but not uncomfortable. If you were to think about effort on a scale of 1 to 10, at the most intense, you’d want to be around a 6 or 7. It’s always best when you’re first starting out to err on the side of taking it easier, so start getting to a 4 or 5, and work up as you get more comfortable with the workouts. 

There’s no limit to how a HIIT workout can be organized and what specific movements it can involve. 

This is where a personal trainer is really helpful. These professionals work with you to help you start where you’re at and progress to meet your goals, whatever those goals may be. They take out the guesswork of creating a program. They make sure the program is safe. And they ensure that you have proper form when you do the workout, so that you can avoid injury. 

The Why of “Vigorous Exercise”

Current research is pointing toward the fact that vigorous exercise has some great benefits to people 50 and older. 

In particular, a recent study showed that HIIT workouts with adults over 70 years old improved health and well-being. While the study showed that all types of exercise were helpful, the higher intensity workouts indicated “that HIIT may boost lifespan.” 

There are also indicators that HIIT workouts may help improve memory. Researches concluded in a recent study “that fitness levels are directly correlated with memory improvement and that intensity is a critical factor when using exercise to mitigate dementia.” 

There are also lifestyle considerations and general day-to-day reasons why having some intensity in your workouts is something you’ll enjoy. These harder workouts help maintain muscle strength, which helps you move through the world better. They also have benefits to lung health and managing glucose levels, among other wellness factors.  

The upshot is, incorporating HIIT workouts into your life is a good thing. And, they’re fun! 

Body Balance Specializes in Working With Older Adults

A really important part of adding intensity to your workouts, especially if you’re new to the gym or haven’t been in a long time, is to work with someone who understands how to work with older adults. 

At Body Balance, we have years of experience with adults 50, 60, 70, and older at all levels of health and wellness. We’ve worked with avid life-long athletes and people who are just starting out. We’ve worked with adults who have serious health conditions and others who are just looking to improve their wellness. 

Where we excel is in creating personalized programs and working with you to perform the movements properly. And we do that in a comfortable, safe setting. Of course, we also always bring a positive attitude and love welcoming everyone into our health and wellness community. 

We’re here to get you started on your wellness journey and introduce you to the health benefits of adding some intensity to your exercise regimen, whatever your age, and whatever your experience level. 

Cherie Turner

No Comments

Leave a reply