It’s Probably High Intensity That Will Keep You Young

Exploring Intensity

It’s Probably High Intensity That Will Keep You Young

If you are someone who loves weight training we’re not going to try and steer you away from it. After all, any physical activity is better than nothing.

But when it comes to your cells and keeping them biologically younger, you may want to focus a little more on the cardio side of things.

At least that is what a new study says, which looked at how different kinds of exercise affected telomeres, which may be what keeps our cells young… if we treat them right.

Researchers took 124 men and women, all middle-aged, who didn’t exercise but weren’t considered particularly unfit. They were given a battery of tests and then broken into three groups. The first group didn’t do anything different and just went home.

The second group, though, “started a supervised program of brisk walking or jogging for 45 minutes three times a week, or a thrice-weekly, high-intensity interval program consisting of four minutes of strenuous exercise followed by four minutes of rest, with the sequence repeated four times.”

The third group did weight training three times a week, and all of this went on for six month. Then everyone was tested again and the results were pretty interesting, especially the differences between those who did intervals and those who lifted weights. From the article again:

Those men and women who had jogged or completed intervals had much longer telomeres in their white blood cells now than at the start, and more telomerase activity. The weight trainers did not. Their telomeres resembled those of people in the control group, having remained about the same or, in some instances, shortened during the six months.

Why is that? It could be either because interval training gets your blood pumping a lot more, or because weight training produces more nitric oxide in the body, which may affect telomeres negatively.

Either way, do you need to drop the weight and put on your running shoes? As we said, we’re not going to say you need to stop resistance training, and there are many ways it can help your body. But if you are looking for that elusive fountain of youth then something that makes you sweat a little more may be the way to go.

-Shane M.