Great Health Guide - - CONTENTS - Kusal Goonewar­dena

HIT can ben­e­fit fit­ness at all ages.

Pos­i­tive health ben­e­fits from High In­ten­sity Train­ing (HIT) con­tinue to be dis­cov­ered. The main dif­fer­ence be­tween High In­ten­sity Train­ing (HIT) and High In­ten­sity In­ter­val Train­ing (HIIT) is that HIIT work­outs are high in­ten­sity ex­er­cise such as an all-out sprint fol­lowed by a pe­riod of re­cov­ery. If you do not al­low your heart rate to re­cover, your HIIT work­out be­comes a HIT work­out.

Why HIT ex­er­cise regime is so com­pelling?

High in­ten­sity train­ing ben­e­fits peo­ple of any fit­ness level. The only re­quire­ment is lift­ing the in­ten­sity of your ex­er­cise to 85% of your ca­pac­ity dur­ing an ex­er­cise. It has noth­ing to do with aim­ing for ‘per­sonal bests’ or other mea­sure­ments, just reach­ing 85% in­ten­sity. Any ex­er­cise is fine – run­ning, cy­cling, swim­ming, skip­ping, or row­ing.

Be­cause it’s 85% of your own ca­pac­ity, you can never out­grow it and you can never be too un­fit to par­tic­i­pate. As your fit­ness im­proves your per­for­mance will im­prove, but get­ting to 85% will al­ways be a chal­lenge which re­wards your body.

High in­ten­sity train­ing is ideal for women who are busy with fam­ily, ca­reers, study and life gen­er­ally, be­cause it only re­quires a few min­utes at one time. High in­ten­sity train­ing is the per­fect com­ple­ment to other low and mid-in­ten­sity ex­er­cise. Re­gard­ing fre­quency, just three to five times a week, has been shown to make a dif­fer­ence.

A land­mark study by the Nor­we­gian Univer­sity of Science and Tech­nol­ogy found pos­i­tive re­sults from four min­utes of vig­or­ous ex­er­cise three times a week. Par­tic­i­pants in th­ese stud­ies showed a 50% im­prove­ment in their aer­o­bic ca­pac­i­ties af­ter 12 weeks. Other ben­e­fits in­clude in­creased stamina and re­duced chances of heart dis­ease, hy­per­ten­sion and di­a­betes.

The only caveat is that any­one with a heart con­di­tion or health is­sues, needs to be cleared by a doc­tor. While only a short amount of time is re­quired to reach 85% ca­pac­ity, this in­di­cates that you are just a step be­low go­ing flat out which means, the HIT ex­er­cise regime is not easy.

We, at Elite Akademy were stunned by a re­cent study pub­lished in the Jour­nal of Ap­plied Phys­i­ol­ogy about a 105-year-old French am­a­teur cy­clist, Robert Marc­hand, who boosted his fit­ness af­ter in­cor­po­rat­ing high in­ten­sity train­ing.

This is a bomb­shell be­cause boost­ing aer­o­bic fit­ness af­ter mid­dle age has al­ways been thought dif­fi­cult, if not im­pos­si­ble.

There’s no doubt Mr Marc­hand is an out­lier with ex­tra­or­di­nary ge­net­ics. Re­ports say he has avoided any ma­jor phys­i­cal ail­ments to date and does not re­quire any med­i­ca­tions. He has a good diet and a pos­i­tive out­look. While do­ing some phys­i­cal work through­out his life, he wasn’t big on ex­er­cis­ing un­til re­tire­ment, when he started cy­cling reg­u­larly.

High in­ten­sity ex­er­cise: what is the ef­fect on VO2 max?

The study was en­gi­neered by a pro­fes­sor in ex­er­cise science, Veronique Bil­lat, at the Univer­sity of Evry-Val d’Es­sonne in France, who found older ath­letes could in­crease their VO2 max if they ex­er­cised in­tensely. (VO2 max refers to the max­i­mum rate of oxy­gen con­sump­tion mea­sured dur­ing in­cre­men­tal ex­er­cise).

Pro­fes­sor Bil­lat had never tested a cen­te­nar­ian be­fore. Af­ter test­ing for gen­eral fit­ness, pro­fes­sor Bil­lat de­vel­oped a pro­gram which re­quired the 105-year-old to train at a leisurely level for 80 per cent of his train­ing. ‘Leisurely’ is de­fined as the equiv­a­lent to 12 or less on a scale of one to 20, where 20 is un­bear­able lev­els of ex­er­tion. But for the re­main­ing 20 per cent, the cy­clist was re­quired to in­crease the in­ten­sity to a ‘dif­fi­cult’ level, which is de­scribed as equal to 15 or above out of 20, to sig­nif­i­cantly raise the heart rate.

Af­ter two years un­der this pro­gram, tests showed that Mr Marc­hand had a VO2 max that was 13 per cent higher than it had been two years be­fore. It was equiv­a­lent to that of

a healthy 50-year-old. This was proof that his fit­ness im­proved in his 100s.

This in­spi­ra­tional story shows high in­ten­sity train­ing has no shelf-life. Whether you’re 30, 50 or 70, jug­gling ca­reers and fam­ily, semire­tired, a fit­ness fa­natic or re­luc­tant ex­er­ciser, those few min­utes, a few times a week, can be pow­er­ful for long-term health.

Key points:

1. Boost­ing aer­o­bic fit­ness af­ter mid­dle age is pos­si­ble.

2. It’s dif­fi­cult to find a more pow­er­ful ex­am­ple of high in­ten­sity train­ing than the 105-year-old who is be­com­ing fit­ter!

3. High in­ten­sity train­ing can ben­e­fit any­one.

4. It is great for those who are jug­gling many com­mit­ments and strug­gle to find the time.

Kusal is an ex­pe­ri­enced phys­io­ther­a­pist who con­sults via his clinic, Elite Akademy

Sports Medicine. He be­lieves pas­sion­ately that physiotherapy pa­tients should see pos­i­tive re­sults in three ses­sions or less. Kusal has au­thored books in­clud­ing: Low Back

Pain – 30 Days to Pain Free and 3 Minute Work­outs, cur­rently avail­able via Wilkin­son Pub­lish­ing. When not con­sult­ing, Kusal is is a lec­turer, au­thor, con­sul­tant and men­tor to thou­sands of physiotherapy stu­dents around the world. www.eliteakademy.com

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