The Buffalo Veterans Administration Medical Center recently completed a pilot program designed to show the power of even just a few minutes of intense exercise for senior citizens. While any exercise is better than no exercise, the benefits of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) are impressive. What’s more, they’re accomplished with just a few minutes of HIIT several times per week.
The pilot program, which is in its first year, tested three signs of frailty – pulmonary strength, cardiovascular strength, and grip strength. Twenty veterans participated in the study, and 15 more are being recruited before findings are published in 2020. Fewer than 10% of people 75 and older meet the recommendation of 30 minutes of exercise five times per week, and researchers are hopeful that the study’s findings will encourage seniors to commit to a regular exercise routine.
Veteran participants began the program with a series of health and wellness questions. They had both their grip strength and cognition tested, with a six-minute walk taken on a treadmill to measure gait speed and maximum oxygen consumption. These measuring points were chosen because of their link to functional ability, and they’re checked regularly throughout the program.
Three times per week, the veterans are tracked for ten minutes as they exercise on a recumbent bike. They’re asked to pedal for three minutes at 50% of their maximum oxygen level, then for alternating one-minute intervals at 80% and 50% for three rounds, with another minute at 80% at the end. It’s a total of four minutes of high-intensity exercise, and for these participants, it’s enough that they’re all showing improvement in pulmonary, cardiovascular, and grip strength, as measured against their initial baselines from the beginning of the study. Did we mention that the veteran participants in this study range from early sixties to mid eighties?
These studies, and many others, underscore the importance of fitness at any age. In Reno, Framework Personal Training is here to help. We specialize in fitness over forty, and our certified personal trainers will work with you to create a functional fitness program that will help you reap the benefits of mindful movement today and into the future. It’s never too late to begin, so contact us today to learn more.