High intensity interval training (HITT) for seniors
Physical activity should be seen as an effective medicine for people with chronic medical problems – or those at risk of heart condition, stroke, diabetes, dementia and those with neurological conditions such as multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease.
Exercise decreases the risk of injury and treats chronic disease – have you heard of high intensity interval training or “HIIT”?
As physiotherapists, we always encourage you to work your hardest and do your best with every exercise we give you.
You may feel like you are puffing hard and sometimes unable to get a word out. You may even think, why do the exercises get harder each session, or why are they making me do five more repetitions?
There is a method to our madness.
Working at a moderate to high level is the key to improving our cardiovascular (heart/lungs) and musculoskeletal (muscles/bones) systems, particularly if you’re older, have had a stroke, or have a heart condition, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease or diabetes.
HIIT requires you to perform an exercise at a high level of intensity for a period of time, before ‘resting’ for a set period. Sessions last for 10-30 minutes (very time effective) and are performed once or twice a week with low to moderate intensity exercise in between to help rebuild bones and muscles.
High intensity means doing a period of vigorous exercise that makes your heart rate speed up and hence drives the change. This is followed by a low intensity recovery. This method produces health benefits similar to twice as much moderate intensity exercise.
HIIT is not just for the young and healthy – research has shown that HIIT has even greater benefits for older adults by improving health and fitness.
Studies have shown HIIT:
- Improves quality of life
- Improves activity levels
- Improves cognitive function / neuroplasticity
- Improves balance
- Improves mobility
- Improves muscle strength and function
- Reduces fatigue
- Improves energy levels
- Improves exercise capacity
- Reduces risk of vascular conditions
- Lowers blood sugar levels
- Reduces heart rate and blood pressure
- Improves oxygen consumption
Lots of benefits, right?
Working with a physiotherapist can help you set achievable goals and guide your exercise routine for optimal health benefits.
The best exercise plan is to find the one that you will stick to and that you enjoy doing. A physiotherapist can help you to build good habits into your daily routine.
The Physio Co specialises in physiotherapy for older adults, so if you’re interested in incorporating some HIIT into your exercise routine, or if you aren’t sure where to start with getting active, let us help you. Give our friendly Support Office a call on 1300 797 793 to book an appointment with one of our expert physiotherapists.
Article written by Karleen Scott & Maddy Lowe (physiotherapists)