Intense cycling could help ward off ageing

A QUICK, intense, four minutes of cycling could help stop the ageing process. It could be the news everyone who hates long workouts has been waiting for, as a US study found that short bursts of intense exercise, such as spinning classes, which are fast cycling classes, can help reverse damage to cells which decline with age.

High-intensity Interval training or HIIT training, helps halt the damage to the cells which starts the ageing process.

The Mayo Clinic in Minnesota signed up 72 men and women aged between 18 and 30 and 65 to 80 for HIIT exercises, resistance training using weights, and combined training with longer bouts of cycling and fewer weights sessions. As well as helping cell ageing, they found that short bursts of exercise improved fitness, cut body fat and can prevent diabetes, but it was not so effective at improving muscle strength which declines with age.

The volunteers with the greatest improvement in reversing cell damage, carried out four minutes of intensive cycling, followed by three easier minutes, 12 times a week, along with another 90 minutes walking on a treadmill.

The researchers are using their findings to try and develop a drug that will mimic the effects of exercise in warding off old age.

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