ROCHESTER, Minn. — Everyone knows that exercise is good for you, but what type of training helps most, especially when you’re older - say over 65? A Mayo Clinic study says it’s high-intensity aerobic exercise, which can reverse some cellular aspects of aging. The findings appear in Cell Metabolism.
Mayo researchers compared high-intensity interval training, resistance training and combined training. All training types improved lean body mass and insulin sensitivity, but only high-intensity and combined training improved aerobic capacity and mitochondrial function for skeletal muscle. Decline in mitochondrial content and function are common in older adults.
High-intensity intervals also improved muscle protein content that not only enhanced energetic functions, but also caused muscle enlargement, especially in older adults. The researchers emphasized an important finding: Exercise training significantly enhanced the cellular machinery responsible for making new proteins. That contributes to protein synthesis, thus reversing a major adverse effect of aging. However, adding resistance training is important to achieve significant muscle strength.
“We encourage everyone to exercise regularly, but the take-home message for aging adults that supervised high-intensity training is probably best, because, both metabolically and at the molecular level, it confers the most benefits,” says K. Sreekumaran Nair, M.D., Ph.D., a Mayo Clinic endocrinologist and senior researcher on the study. He says the high-intensity training reversed some manifestations of aging in the body’s protein function. He cautioned that increasing muscle strength requires resistance training a couple of days a week.
The study’s goal was to find evidence that will help develop targeted therapies and exercise recommendations for individuals at various ages. Researchers tracked metabolic and molecular changes in a group of young and older adults over 12 weeks, gathering data 72 hours after individuals in randomized groups completed each type of exercise. General findings showed:
Co-authors on the article are all from Mayo Clinic:
The research was supported by several grants from the National Institutes of Health, as well as by Mayo Clinic, the Robert and Arlene Kogod Center on Aging and the Murdock-Dole Professorship.
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Bob Nellis, Mayo Clinic Public Affairs, 507-284-5005, firstname.lastname@example.org