People who love working out love to train with high intensity.
But what you might not know is that training with high intensity can increase longevity.
Known as high intensity interval training (HIIT) or sprint training, this cardiovascular method of working out is becoming more and more popular among fitness enthusiasts for its many health benefits.
One of those benefits is increased fat burning. Training with HIIT increases excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) by nine times. When your body uses more oxygen, it burns more calories, which results in increased fat loss, even after you’ve stepped outside the gym.
This increase of oxygen consumption affects your levels of fitness, measured through V02 Max and your heart’s rate of oxygen uptake. This translates into a healthier heart and a fine-tuned cardiovascular system.
But the benefits don’t stop there.
When you engage in steady-state cardio or endurance training like long cardio sessions on the treadmill or running, you run the risk of placing your body in a catabolic state and losing hard-earned muscle. Science is now showing that endurance or steady-state cardio can even harm the heart muscle and cause irreversible scarring. Comparatively, HIIT stimulates growth hormone and can improve your chances of gaining lean muscle mass and this includes the heart muscle.
The heart is the center point of all the functions and processes carried out by the brain and body. If the heart is not healthy, it will automatically affect the brain and normal activities of life, which in turn, affects your quality of life.
To test the effects of HIIT against endurance training, scientists out of Copenhagen, Denmark, took a sampling of male and female cyclists and split them into two groups – one that trained with intensity and one that trained traditionally. The surprising outcome of this study proved that training with intensity is most important in relation to all-cause mortality and even more pronounced for coronary heart disease mortality.
In other words, cycling fast can increase your lifespan.
The results of this study show that men who cycle with fast intensity survived 5.3 years longer than men with average intensity who only survived 2.9 years longer compared to the men who trained with slow-cycling intensity. For women the figures were 3.9 and 2.2 years longer, respectively. The groups were adjusted for differences in age and conventional risk factor levels.
“This study suggests that a greater part of the daily physical activity in leisure time should be vigorous, based on the individuals own perception of intensity.”
What this study teaches us is that training with HIIT can increase longevity by:
- Improving your cardiovascular system by increasing V02 Max.
- Improving the health of your heart by strengthening and building the muscle.
- Improving your body composition by eliminating fat and reducing your risk of weight-related diseases.
Mark A. Samuel
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European Heart Journal (2011, October 5). Exercise-induced right ventricular dysfunction and structural remodelling in endurance athletes. http://eurheartj.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2011/12/05/eurheartj.ehr397.abstract
European Society of Cardiology (ESC). “Cycling fast: Vigorous daily exercise recommended for a longer life.” ScienceDaily, 18 Sep. 2011. Web. 21 Sep. 2011.