You know you should exercise. You know it burns calories, builds muscles, is good for your heart, reduces stress, and the list of benefits goes on and on. Now researchers from the UK say it’s time to really think about exercise, why you do it, how often you do it, what you do when you exercise and how it corresponds to what and when you eat.
The group is looking specifically at the benefits of HIT –high intensity exercise – and the biological factors that are affected by exercise. HIT is defined as short bursts of exercises done with high levels of effort that lead to increases in muscle strength and size.
To put it succinctly, at least in this stage of their work, these researchers say intense exercise done for as little as three minutes a week may help fight disease and the detrimental impact of aging on muscles.
The group is looking at the type of exercise that is most effective in preventing diseases such as obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases – diseases considered metabolic disorders. Along with the impact of exercise, they’re investigating a number of factors ranging from biology to DNA with the goal of developing individualized exercise programs as well as predicting how insulin resistance impacts muscle over time.
The host of the UK television program Horizon, which aired a special on the research, worked with the researchers and went through the training himself to determine the impact it had on his body. By doing High Intensity Training, known as HIT, over four weeks Michael Mosely was able to improve his insulin sensitivity by 24 percent.
With age comes declining muscle mass. While many people take this as just part of life and the aging process, these researchers aren’t taking that fact sitting down. They want to know why this happens. For the next five years they plan to track study participants in order to understand why musculoskeletal tissue metabolism, function and mass all decline with age. On top of age, the research will look at what, if any, added impact obesity has on decline in muscle.
They plan to look at the biological events that go along with age and the loss of muscle as well whether exercise and diet can fight it. One running theory is that weight training increases blood flow to muscles and as a result can help keep muscle from deteriorating.
Staying Healthier for Longer
Until more information about how to fight the impact of aging on muscles is known, researchers say there are measures we can take now to be proactive.
First, they suggest exercising before eating as a way to break down fat. On top of that, they say to get moving. The researchers warn not to sit still for more than an hour at a time. In their words ”Chairs Kill”. You can fight aging, but according to this work, you can’t do it sitting down.