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Article and comment – How to get the body of someone 20 years younger

This is a great little article on the research of Peter Herbert, an associate professor in the Centre for Health and Ageing at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David. It is about the addition of Fit HIIT training to preserve fitness as you get older.

His interesting findings were that of the following:

• Both Masters levels athletes and sedentary people in their 50’s, 60’s and 70’s improved their direct level of cardio fitness. This was done in just in 6 weeks by doing fit HIIT once every 5-10 days for a period of 6 weeks.
• A lot of the Masters athletes continued this program after the 6 week trial. 4 years later, their cardio fitness levels were excellent and remained excellent as they continued to age.

-The average age of these athletes was 64 years. At the beginning of the trial, their VO2 Max level was 38ml/kg (equivalent to excellent for a 40-49 non-athlete). This rose to 44ml/kg after the 6 week trial. It remained at this level for 4 years, when the athlete’s average age was 68.

• Secondly, he found that one 20 minute session of strength training per week, involving multi-joint muscles, was more effective in improving strength and functional movements. This includes sitting to standing, balancing and squatting longer. 40 minute workouts that involved single joint exercises, such as biceps curls or triceps press exercises were also included.

So, what does that mean:

• Adding a simple, cardio Fit HIIT workout either BEFORE or AFTER your Clinical Exercise/Pilates session once a week, can make a significant difference to your long term cardio fitness.

-This involves 6 x 30- sec sprints on the bike at 90% maximum effort, with a 3 minute break between sets. Total time = 21 minutes

-After doing a YMCA assessment on the bike, our staff can set this program up for you, just ask us at reception

• All the Clinical Exercise/Pilates programs combined with the Lifting (multi-joint exercises) that we get you to do fit this category. They are the best way that we know to keep your strength, balance and functional movement in the long term.

Bee, P (2021) How to get the body of someone 20 years younger. The Times , 21st June 2021

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