Most everyone I know wants to look and feel younger.  While obviously you cannot stop the aging process, regular aerobic exercise can decrease your biological age by 10 years or more.  My extensive endurance training over the last 8 years has led to a decrease in my biological age to 18, and my chronological age is 41. Interval training is an effective way to exercise at a high enough intensity to significantly increase oxygen demands and ultimately slow aging.  Interval training is defined as short bursts of going all out followed by brief periods of active recovery.  Interval training allows you to exercise briefly at a high intensity in order to force the body to adapt in ways that slow aging.

The best way to interval train is to keep it simple by changing only one variable at a time.  For example, increase the resistance on the elliptical trainer and maintain the speed, or increase the incline on a treadmill and maintain the speed.  It makes no difference to your body which variables change, all that matters is that the muscles work harder, oxygen demand increases and the heart rate goes up thereby aging slows.

Here are some variables to consider when creating your interval workouts:

Speed. Increasing speed is an obvious way to boost intensity, however, speed can cause injury and should be used to increase exercise intensity only if you are conditioned and free from musculoskeletal injuries.

Incline. Adding incline is an alternative way to increase intensity on most cardiovascular equipment.  A change in incline changes the mechanics of movement by recruiting additional muscles or increasing output, both of which increase how hard the heat works and maximal oxygen consumption.

Resistance. The greater the resistance, the harder the muscles work to move the bones.  This variable can be adjusted by increasing resistance on cardiovascular machines or by incorporating added weight.

Relationship to gravity.  One of the most effective ways to train is to use body weight against gravity.  For instance you can incorporate jump push-ups or jump squats into a workout.

Impact. Impact is most commonly associated with sustained, high-impact activities like jogging, but plyometrics (explosive movements such as hopping and jumping) are effective for adding impact moves in a non-sustained manner.  By including a plyometrics component to your workout you can increase the intensity of almost any exercise, but plyometrics calls for the same care that is needed when adding speed to an exercise.

Alternating lower with upper. A simple way to increase intensity and then recover is to alternate a lower-body exercise like a lunge with an upper-body exercise like a dumbbell chest press.  This strategy is particularly effective if you are out of shape.  The lower-body exercise in creases the heart rate, while the upper-body exercise allows for a brief recovery.

Call me during the month of July for a free 30-minute telephone consultation and get started on an interval training program today.