Interval Training… for Grandparents

Exploring Intensity

Interval Training… for Grandparents

It may be an tough to convince many seniors that they can perform high-intensity interval exercises – and that it will actually be one of the best things they can do for their health. But a new study shows a beneficial interval that the elderly can perform - and all it involves is walking.walk-fast-couple

Researchers out of Japan, home of the Tabata, started about a decade ago trying an interval study with people aged 44-78 that was less than full bore. Instead they asked one group to switch the speed of their walking every three minutes for a half hour: three minutes where they increased to a “6 or 7” out of ten, and three minutes where they were quite leisurely The second group walked at a speed of about a “4” for 30 minutes. No changes and they just enjoyed their stroll.

The subjects did this for five months and at the end, those who walked at a 4 at all times showed little to no physiological changes. But the interval subjects had “significantly improved aerobic fitness, leg strength and blood-pressure readings.” These are all important gains for people who need to worry about their hearts and their balance, especially because falls are such a concern in old age.

But the best and most important news is that of the subjects contacted by researchers, 70% who were shown the interval technique are still doing it ten years later. As sticking with an exercise regimen is pretty much the biggest hurdle for people, this is huge. We just hope those subjects who were doing 4’s the whole time were told at the end how to do it right.