Over the past 4 years, I’ve been incorporating high-intensity exercise intervals (HIIT) into older adults exercise programs. Usually, after a pre-conditioning period (1-2 months), I will add a series of 30-second sprints with 1,2 or 3 minutes of active recovery. The critical point being the recovery needs to be long enough to ensure the intensity of the effort is maintained.
This type of HIIT has been well tolerated with no adverse events recorded during this period.
More research is showing that moderate to vigorous activity (MVPA) has a positive effect on all-cause mortality.
A recent study in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports Oct 3 2019, titled
Association between physical activity and all-cause mortality: a 15-year follow-up using a compositional data analysis.
looked at sedentary behaviour (SB), light-intensity physical activity (LIPA) and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity on all-cause mortality over 15 years.
The results found that substituting time in either light or moderate to vigorous exercise with sedentary behaviour increased the hazards for all-cause mortality. The recommendations were to replace SB with either LIPA or MVPA. If you are only doing a small portion of your exercise in the MVPA category, try to maintain it as the highest priority.
I advise our clients if they are time-poor, get at least some vigorous physical activity done. That doesn’t have to be a formal session; it can be a quick sprint up the stairs, 10-15 fast push-ups or a brisk walk for 5 minutes.
Daily exercise is essential, there is now a growing body of evidence that how you do it is even more critical.