Science of Exercise

A recent study has shown how exercise benefits the body on a cellular level. What’s even cooler is that it found what type of exercise that’s best for boosting cell health. Have you heard of High-intensity Interval Training (HIIT)? If you have, you likely know that it’s one of the best ways to train. Now with recent research, we know it has even more benefits on the cellular level.

Published in Cell Metabolism (2017; 25[3], 581-92), the study included 36 men and 36 women categorized as “young” (18 to 30 years old) or “older” (65 to 80 years old). Each participant was assigned to one of three training programs for 12 weeks: HIIT on an indoor bike; strength training with weights; or a combination of both. Scientists took muscle biopsies from the volunteers (plucked some samples) and then compared the results with those from a sedentary control group.

 

Data showed that the exercise groups experienced improvements in cellular function and in the ability of mitochondria to generate energy. This adds to the evidence that exercise slows the aging process at a cellular level. Muscle mass and insulin sensitivity improved with all three training protocols, but outcomes did vary. “HIIT revealed a more robust increase in gene transcripts than other exercise modalities, particularly in older adults,” according to the authors. HIIT increased mitochondrial capacity by 49% in the young group and 69% in the older group.

“HIIT reversed many age-related differences in the proteome, particularly of mitochondrial proteins in concert with increased mitochondrial protein synthesis.”

For best benefit though, a combination of HIIT and strength training is still recommended since HIIT alone doesn’t increase strength and muscle mass like the strength training protocol does.

What does this all mean for you? The take home message is for aging adults that supervised HIIT is best since it confers the most benefits both metabolically and at the molecular level. This is all according to K. Sreekumaran Nair, MD, PhD from the study linked above.

Do you partake in HIIT training? What about strength training? Do you notice benefits from it? While you may not feel your cells changing, they are the building blocks to living things. And once again: do you even science, bro? 🙂

Exercise and creativity

Physically active people can improve their self-expression, self-confidence and social interaction compared with more sedentary people. Exercise leads to better brain health, less obesity and less stress. This applies to people of all ages, including children and young adults. Regular exercise for children and young adults is important as that is when people start habits, good or bad. While I am a tutor, I do recommend my students exercise as it can help them study for their exams and perform better on test day.

 

While exercise is physical, it affects overall health and well being more than just the physical gains. Artists facing roadblocks in their creative process can be benefited by exercise. Exercise can help them open their minds and see their art from a different perspective or mindset. And what’s even better than just exercising? Exercising outside. Science supports the idea of human’s innate desire to connect with nature. Several studies have shown a correlation between being outside and feeling emotionally, mentally and physically better.

Being outside almost provides a distraction from everything else going on. Exercising outside can definitely lead to great things. Do you exercise outside? If so, what’s your favorite type of exercise to do outside?