For folks over 50, here’s the best news you’ll hear all day– according to a celebrated endurance coach, the evidence suggests that for people over 50 HOW you exercise, not how old you are, is responsible for 60-70% of your athletic power (how strong and fast you are). That means it’s possible to slow the decline of your athletic performance as you get older, and in some cases, even get STRONGER as you age. It all comes down to what type of exercising you’re doing.
Today’s article (which is long but totally worth the read) explains that high-intensity training (which means consistently getting your heart rate up until the upper levels of its potential peak) has been shown to be MORE important as we age in order to maintain the key metric of cardiovascular fitness– VO2 max, which basically shows how efficient your body is with consuming oxygen. High-intensity training means that you work harder for shorter amounts of time, allowing you more time to rest and recover, which also reduces your risk of injury. As the article puts it, it’s not just “use it or lose it”– you also need to “push it” a bit.
We’ve written before about the importance of an exercise routine that incorporates some high-intensity intervals— it helps lower blood sugar and improve cardiovascular fitness. If you’re looking to get started with a higher intensity workout (and of course, your doctor says that you’re healthy enough to start exercising this way), we’d suggest this 10-20-30 approach that we wrote about a few weeks ago. It’s easy, doesn’t require any additional equipment and can get you started. Good luck!