REDONDO BEACH, Calif. - In Redondo Beach, seniors are sizzling serious calories doing a bit of Zumba, strength training even using cardio machines. They come for fun, fitness and friendship, but there's a lot going on here on a cellular level.
"We've got a lot of super humans here. You watch them move and you're like 'Whoa, OK. I didn't think you could do that,'" said medical exercise specialist Jason Bautista of the Center for Health and Fitness in Redondo Beach.
Physician Bill Kim said they are smart to keep after it.
"The older we get, perhaps we ought to set the bar higher," suggested Kim.
A recent study asked those age 65 to 80 years of age to participate in HIIT, which combined indoor cycling with strength training.
Some participants just cycled, some did only weight work and one group did a combination of the two in short, intense intervals.
While all of the groups improved in the ability to increase muscle mass and regulate insulin, the HIIT group did the best.
HIIT helped age-related issues in the cells' mitochondria that synthesize protein. The senior group showed the most improvement in this area compared to those in the age18 to 30, suggesting this type of program remains beneficial in our golden years.
No surprise strength training is the most effective in increasing muscle mass, so interval training aerobic exercise with strength training in small bouts of time is key.
But this is important to note: Because HIIT means high intensity, this is the type of workout that is best done in a group setting or with a personal trainer for best results.