Are you a senior citizen that likes to keep fit and wants something more challenging than chair aerobics to help you keep in shape? Read on to how this form of exercise could help you.
HIIT training is known for its high-intensity and often high-impact nature as participants run and jump through a session at their max. The extreme form of exercise has put many people off, with them deciding against completing a session before they try it for themselves.
The problem though is HIIT is one of the best ways to keep in shape and far more adaptable than you may think. Although it can be challenging it can also be adapted and performed by everyone, whatever your age, ability, or previous exercise experience.
If you’re a senior citizen especially you could still enjoy HIIT sessions even as you age and you shouldn’t be put off by what you’ve heard. In this article, we’re going to take a close look at HIIT training and outline how you can successfully take part in a session, even as a senior.
What is HIIT?
HIIT, which stands for High-Intensity Interval Training, is a type of exercise that involves a short burst of activity where you work at a higher intensity, followed by a small period where you work at a lower intensity.
It’s a great way to fire up your metabolism, burn calories, and improve your full-body fitness.
HIIT training sessions can be completed with or without equipment and even on exercise machines such as stationary bikes, elliptical or rowing machines.
The main goal of HIIT is to work in a higher heart rate category (70-90%) and to work near your maximum effort.
Can Anyone Do HIIT?
Anyone can do HIIT training and it truly is one of the best workouts you can complete for any individual at any age. HIIT as a principle can be carried out by simply outlining a group of exercises to be completed and allocating time, this also gives you the benefit to adapt the activity to fit your needs. For example, you could perform 6 intervals of 45-second elliptical sprints followed by 15-second slow pace jogging and repeat this 4-6 times total. That would still qualify as HIIT but it is much lower impact than the type of routines you may see online.
You could also complete a class-based HIIT workout and simply adapt the routine, many virtual HIIT sessions offer adaptations for people with knee, back or hip problems that may involve stationary work instead of jumping or bouncing and there’s no reason why you couldn’t do the same. Your goal is to work to the best of your ability, at a higher intensity than normal, it doesn’t matter if you have to modify an exercise, just ensure you’re still working hard.
The key takeaway is that everyone, irrespective of age or ability should be able to complete a HIIT workout.
Benefits of HIIT Training for Seniors
One of the biggest problems facing seniors is a loss of muscle mass and a deterioration of strength through aging. This increases the likelihood of injury, falls, and breaks and also increases the chance of more serious medical conditions such as Osteoporosis.
Many seniors opt for something more moderate, such as steady-state cardio on an elliptical machine but the truth is, steady-state cardio, which doesn’t challenge the body, build muscle or contribute to more efficient heart and lung functionality could be putting seniors at risk as the lack of strength bearing exercise could result in further muscle atrophy as a result of the lack of strength activity.
HIIT can allow you to increase your metabolism, improve your balance, build muscle mass, and lose weight and do so in a much shorter period than with steady-state cardio.
Other Considerations for Seniors
It is worth noting that you can adapt a HIIT session to fit your activity levels and ability but you will still be required to work at a higher intensity. It is therefore worth noting that as you age it can take more time to recover from intense exercise and you may feel the effects for a little longer than you’re used to. However, as with any new exercise routine, you will soon begin to adapt to the session, feeling stronger, fitter, and more able, and if it does take you longer to recover, you should simply space out your training sessions to ensure you do not train back to back.
Getting older does not mean you have to stop exercising or enjoying the life you want. It’s actually the opposite, by continuing to exercise and taking care of your body you may be able to perform at an optimal level, enjoying the things that you want to do, for much longer than you would have imagined.
Many senior citizens become frail and weak as they age and although this is not always the case some can look back to their decision to stop exercising and to stop challenging their bodies as one of the main reasons why this happened. If you want to continue to look after your health and to do something that can help you to lead a more enjoyable life as you age then there’s no doubt that HIIT training could be the thing for you.