Seniors are often advised to opt for low or medium-intensity exercises. But can HIIT for seniors be a good idea? Let us explore this idea in more detail here.
HIIT is an excellent workout for endurance, muscle mass, and boosting calorie burn. It has the potential to improve elders’ cardiovascular fitness which they can achieve in less time compared to moderate-intensity workouts.
However, older adults are often scared that HIIT might be dangerous for them due to the presence of rapid movements and high-intensity exercises. Many people are confused about whether HIIT is suitable for them or not. Elders are advised to get involved in low-intensity exercises such as yoga, walking and to avoid high-intensity workouts.
In this article, we will explore the benefits of HIIT for the elderly and whether it is a good option for seniors to perform or not. So stay tuned into reading this article.
What is a HIIT Workout?
HIIT workout is a high-intensity interval training workout. In this type of workout, there is a short burst of intense activity that boosts your heart rate to the maximum. For example, you can perform a spin bike for 30 seconds, and after that, you can perform a minute of slow exercises.
High-intensity interval training is popular because of the calorie burn. You can burn up to 30% more calories than other moderate-intensity workouts. Even elders can avail the benefits of this workout. You need to perform this in several patterns.
You might like to read: How Much Exercise Does One Really Need?
Is HIIT A Good Workout Option For Seniors?
High-intensity interval training is a good workout option for seniors, but they shouldn’t opt for it more than thrice a week. They must consult a specialist if they suffer from cardiovascular disease before trying to perform HIIT.
What Are The Benefits Of HIIT For Seniors?
People can avail the benefits of high-intensity interval training of all ages. Seniors can reap certain benefits just as younger people do.
HIIT can reduce the mortality rate amongst seniors:
Exercise has its own set of benefits. Due to active participation in the exercises and intensity training, elders have a good metabolic rate. However, the older adults who participate in high-intensity interval training workouts at least twice a week have lower mortality rates from all the causes.
The elders who perform high-intensity interval training than the participants who perform moderate workouts are more likely to stay away from all the diseases. Their immunity boosts, and thus the mortality rate reduces. It adds up to the quality of their life.
It improves their cardiorespiratory fitness:
Many people suffer from cardiorespiratory diseases. Cardiorespiratory problems are major reasons for the increased mortality rate among the elders. High-intensity interval training is known for its excellent effect on the heart. It improves cardiorespiratory fitness in older adults.
As we age, cardiorespiratory fitness reduces but exercising regularly can reverse this decline. Older adults who perform high-intensity interval training workouts have higher oxygen levels than those who aren’t active. They stay away from any cardiorespiratory diseases.
HIIT reverses muscles decline in the seniors:
As we age, there is a steep deterioration in the muscle cells. Over the age of 65, everybody suffers from muscle decline. Seniors who perform high-intensity interval training can reverse this deterioration. It is said that the elderly who perform high-intensity interval training change the DNA of muscle cells. This change helps them produce more energy.
Muscle loss is natural as we age. But it doesn’t mean that we have to accept it and stay the same. You can make some fast and active steps to change it. Workouts like high-intensity interval training slow down the loss of muscle tissue in older adults. It can even reverse the muscle loss amongst them.
This training also increases the growth of new muscle tissue and makes them stronger.
It helps in reversing aging in the seniors:
High-intensity interval training is responsible for producing hormones produced at a young age. High-intensity interval training can result in higher testosterone secretion in older men if they perform HIIT training regularly for at least five months.
This high-intensity interval training is good for the elders as it benefits their overall well-being and promotes a healthy life.
Seniors can reduce their belly fat:
Fat around the middle section can become problematic for older adults. It becomes difficult for them to lose the fat in the central area of the body due to old age, as with age, older adults struggle more than the younger generation.
By performing high-intensity interval training workouts, older adults can reduce belly fat more adequately than other exercises. Older women can perform HIIT workouts to reduce belly fat and eliminate excess fat from the midsection.
HIIT is a form of recreation and fun for the seniors:
The best type of exercise is to perform consistently throughout your life. Some kind of workout is always better than no workout. Another benefit of high-intensity interval training workouts for seniors is a form of recreation for them.
Many seniors try to follow a similar routine of moderate-intensity activities like weight lifting and walking. This is completely fine, but this can be boring if you stick to the same routine all the time.
People are more likely to exercise every day if they come across different routines and change things by making the workout more fun and interesting.
What Happens When Seniors Over-Perform HIIT Workout Sessions?
HIIT has various benefits, but working out also plays a vital role for elders. There are certain disadvantages that seniors can suffer from. Here is the list of what can happen through excessive HIIT.
It can lead to high cortisol levels:
High-intensity interval training leads to increased cortisol levels which is the stress hormone that leads to a higher cardiovascular rate. But performing HIIT six or more times a week can lead to sky-high cortisol levels. This can cause trouble for your body because it leads to a chronic state of stress. It may lead to heart disease, diabetes, and weight gain.
Your heart may overwork:
HIIT is a cardiovascular activity that may elevate your heart rate and demand more oxygen in the blood. While working out, your heart rate goes up and increases the body’s oxygen requirement.
The higher cardiac activity can result in arterial dilation, which leads to increased blood flow. It also expands the body’s blood vessels. As the heart demands more oxygen and requires rest, it results in an efficient heart. Thus the heart can pump blood better with each beat and decrease strain.
Though HIIT is great for your cardiovascular system, you should not perform it every day. By performing HIIT, your stamina improves every passing day. This, to a great extent, reduces the risk of heart attack and lowers the occurrence of cardiovascular diseases.
Performing high-intensity exercises every day results in overworking of the heart. This may result in any cardiovascular disease. If you suffer from any heart issue, make sure you seek the advice of your physician before starting it.
Fast-twitch muscle fibers become more stressed:
In HIIT, as we work out, our fast-twitch muscle fibers get activated. There are two types of muscle fibers. The type 2 muscle fiber, which is dense, is used for powerful exercises. This leads to exhaustion amongst them.
These fibers generate power quickly and cause fatigue. After performing high-intensity activities, your body needs to take a rest to replenish and fuel your muscles. This requires more time for recovery.
If you perform HIIT every day, your fast-twitch muscles will become more stressed, resulting in fatigue. Thus, it may lead to pain and cause problems for you.
Your body won’t be able to recover:
Once you perform the exercise, your body suffers from an afterburn effect. This creates an oxygen deficit in your body. HIIT is a great way to melt the fat.
Once you perform the workout, your body requires additional oxygen, and in this process, the body is known to burn extra calories. The higher intensity of the exercise, the higher the oxygen requirement demanded by the elders.
Performing any HIIT leads to injury and severely hampers metabolic activities in seniors. This leads to the burning of excess fat in the body. You still need to avoid performing HIIT every day to prevent injury and overtraining.
Sometimes a person may build up lactic acid, which can become a problem for elders. It may lead to overtraining symptoms. Elders shouldn’t perform it more than three times a week and understand the significance of moderation.
HIIT is a good form of workout for seniors. It has various health benefits, but the only thing that they need to maintain is moderation. If they over-exercise, then it may lead to specific problems. Make sure you go through the entire article to understand the benefits and what happens if you over workout. If you are confused about the HIIT and its aspects, you can breathe easily.
We hope this segment has inspired you to work out regularly to manage a perfect balance, even at old age but in moderate quantities. If you know someone who needs to read this, share this information with them. Lastly, your suggestions and comments are important for us, so tell us how you liked the article.