Monday, January 22, 2018

You're Never Too Old to Train at Intensity

Take 66-year-old UCI Track Masters World Championships rider Gary Hoffman, who is almost as fast as he was at age 20—when he competed to race in the Olympics

Cycling coach and world-class rider Gary Hoffman, 66, knows exactly why older athletes often lack explosive power. They tell themselves to plod toward the horizon, convinced that the days of sprints, leaps, launches, and dynos are gone.

But Hoffman—and recent science—says don't listen to foot-dragging naysayers. “For years people told me I wasn’t a sprinter,” says Hoffman, who last summer won silver in the match sprint at USA Cycling’s 2017 Masters Track National Championships.

The biological truth is you’re never too old to train at intensity, or to wield it. Intensity training commands relatively little workout time, makes you faster, and pretty much lassoes the aging process. “You’ll get slower more slowly,” says Hoffman.

Here’s the proof: last year, researchers at Minnesota’s Mayo Clinic put 60 subjects—many of them between 65 and 80 years of age—through a 12-week program that included high-intensity aerobic interval training (HIIT). The regimen, which featured four four-minute cycling intervals three times per week, as well as treadmill work and resistance training, improved lean body mass, aerobic capacity, and mitochondrial function. Mitochondria are cell organelles that contribute to the making of new proteins, and their improved operation delivers greater energy and more musculature.

“Our data suggest [sic] that exercise training in older humans can induce a strong upregulation of mitochondrial proteins,” wrote the study’s eight authors in the journal Cell Metabolism. “HIIT appears to be an effective recommendation to improve cardio metabolic health…in aging adults.”

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