While the benefits of regular exercise are numerous for both physical and mental wellbeing, a little were known about how it can also help reduce the effects of ageing. Researchers at CellPress have come out with a study that supports the anti-ageing benefits of regular aerobic interval exercise such as walking and cycling. The study has found that exercise such as high-intensity interval training in aerobic exercises such as biking and walking caused cells to make more proteins for their energy-producing mitochondria and their protein-building ribosomes, effectively stopping ageing at the cellular level. To simply, the exercise helps reducing ageing at the cellular level.
The study included 36 men and 36 women from two age groups -“young” volunteers who were 18-30 years old and “older” volunteers who were 65-80 years old. They were divided into 3 different exercise programs:
- One where the volunteers did high-intensity interval biking
- Second where the volunteers did strength training with weights
- Third that combined strength training and interval training
Then the researchers took biopsies from the volunteers’ thigh muscles and compared the molecular makeup of their muscle cells to samples from sedentary volunteers. The researchers also assessed the volunteers’ amount of lean muscle mass and insulin sensitivity.
The researchers found that while strength training was effective at building muscle mass, high-intensity interval training yielded the biggest benefits at the cellular level. The younger volunteers in the interval training group saw a 49% increase in mitochondrial capacity, and the older volunteers saw an even more dramatic 69% increase. Interval training also improved volunteers’ insulin sensitivity, which indicates a lower likelihood of developing diabetes. However, interval training was less effective at improving muscle strength, which typically declines with aging.
“Based on everything we know, there’s no substitute for these exercise programs when it comes to delaying the aging process,” said study senior author Sreekumaran Nair, a medical doctor and diabetes researcher at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. “These things we are seeing cannot be done by any medicine.”
“If people have to pick one exercise, I would recommend high-intensity interval training, but I think it would be more beneficial if they could do 3-4 days of interval training and then a couple days of strength training,” says Nair. But, of course, any exercise was better than no exercise.